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A 12-Step Program for E-Waste?

Canada's environment ministers announce end-of-life principles for electronics...


Canada’s environment ministers announce end-of-life principles for electronics

On June 25th, Canada’s Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) released 12 national stewardship principles for electronics products. (See below.) Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC), a not-for-profit organization serving as the industry voice for responsible end-of-life product management, is encouraged to see these national principles adopted by the CCME. (See articles that mention Alberta programs, pages 4, 16 and 54.)

EPSC President Dave Betts praised the principles as announced.

“These 12 statements provide the framework to develop and deliver electronic waste programs in each province and territory,” he said, “while ensuring harmonization of key elements for the required balance of environmental and economic considerations.

“I’m encouraged by this step, and would hope to see the provinces and territories follow the lead of the CCME in using these principles as they develop their regulations for e-waste management.”

Betts noted three of the principles in particular that are compatible with the approach that EPSC has been advocating with the provinces and territories.

“We agree with the CCME that the primary responsibility associated with management of e-waste lie with the manufacturer, brand-owner or first importer of the designated product. In terms of the management of the program, we also encourage adjacent jurisdictions to strive for consistency in the products that are collected, and we are in complete agreement that programs must report on their performance, objectives and targets, and that financial management of the programs will be transparent.”

Betts also indicated that the industry is ready to work with provinces and territories as electronics waste regulations become a reality across the country.

For more information on Electronics Product Stewardship Canada, visit www.epsc.ca

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THE 12 PRINCIPLES

1. Responsibilities associated with management of e-waste are primarily borne by producers of the products, where “producer(s)” means the manufacturer, brand-owner or first importer of the product who sells or offers for sale the product in each jurisdiction.

2. Costs of program management are not borne by general taxpayers.

3. Environmental and human health impacts are minimized throughout the product life-cycle, from design to end-of-life management.

4. Management of e-waste is environmentally sound and consistent with the 4R waste management hierarchy: (a) Reduce, including reduction in toxicity and redesign of products for improved reusability or recyclability; (b) Reuse; (c) Recycle; (d) Recovery of materials and/or energy from the mixed e-waste stream.

5. Consumers have reasonable access to collection systems without charge.

6. Education and awareness programs ensure that consumers, retailers and other stakeholders have sufficient information on program design and knowledge of their roles.

7. Program design and implementation will strive for equity and consistency for consumers, particularly between those who live in adjacent jurisdictions and between those who live in small, rural and remote communities and large urban centres.

8. Adjacent jurisdictions will strive for consistency in e-waste products collected.

9. Programs will include residential, commercial, historic and orphan products.

10. Programs will report on performance, specify objectives and targets, and be transparent in financial management.

11. E-waste is managed in the most economically and logistically feasible manner, while striving to maximize local economic and social benefits.

12. E-waste is exported from Canada for recycling only at facilities with a documented commitment to environmentally sound management and fair labour practices.


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