Used-tire stewardship in Ontario
In March Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) delivered a plan for used tire stewardship to Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO). The draft plan initially envisioned designating retailers as “stewards” and assigned them responsibility for collecting fees. OTS had contemplated an “advance disposal fee” of $4.00 per passenger or light truck tire, and $6.00 per commercial tire on the purchase of a new tire or new vehicle. The intent was for these fees to be provided to OTS which would then use the monies to fund haulers, processors and municipalities, support research and development into markets for used tires, and remediate old scrap tire stockpiles.
However, in a reply to a letter from the organization, Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky reiterated the government’s requirement that the “brand owner and first importer” must be the stewards.
The plan was also controversial from the perspective of the Ontario Tire Dealers Association, which represents independent tire dealers in Ontario and also sits on the OTS board. The Association believes that retailers are not being treated fairly by the plan for two reasons. One reason is due to the discretion provided to retailers on absorbing the advance disposal fee or passing the fee onto consumers, and the impact this discretion could have on competition in the industry. The second reason relates to the inadequate level of compensation for accepting used tires from consumers. Specifically, retailers will likely incur costs that exceed the level of reimbursement proposed in the plan (which is in the amount of $0.35 to $0.50 per returned tire).
The minister has given OTS 90 days to come up with a new plan, and has similarly told the WDO to devise a new plan for used oil within 90 days. (See Editorial, page 4, and related item in Product Stewardship article, pages 23-27.)
Alberta beverage container fees
As of February 1, 2004, the recycling fees for various beverage containers, with the exception of milk containers and beer containers, have changed in Alberta. The Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation, which is the not-for-profit agent of beverage manufacturers that administers the container recycling fees, has decided to modify the recycling fees for various containers. Specifically, for the year 2004, eight container types will have their recycling fees reduced; five will have their fees remain the same; and seven will have their fees increased. Calculation of fees is based on a formula established by the beverage industry. The container recycling fee was originally implemented in September of 2002, and fees charged are intended to reflect the difference between recycling costs, money obtained from unredeemed deposits and sale of recyclable material.
Electronics recycling in Saskatchewan and Alberta
In Saskatchewan, the environment ministry has announced its intent to carry out consultations on the establishment of two province-wide recycling programs. One of the programs is intended to recycle old electronic equipment, and the other to deal with unused paint. These projects would be based on the existing industry-led stewardship models for scrap-tire management and used oil recycling. The implementation date is Spring of 2005.
Alberta has also taken an interest in the recycling of electronic equipment. Alberta is proposing an electronic equipment recycling program which will be announced this spring and will involve computers, televisions and other electronic items being collected, reused and recycled. This is part of a larger initiative to reduce annual per capita of waste going to landfills in Alberta from 750 kg per person to 500 kg per person by the year 2010. (See related article, page 28.)
Ontario stewards to register, pay fees
The Waste Diversion Act requires companies that introduce packaging and printed paper into the Ontario consumer marketplace to share in 50 per cent of the funding of Ontario’s municipal blue box waste diversion programs. As such, companies in Ontario that are considered “stewards” will be required to register and pay fees by April 20, 2004. If a company produces, imports or distributes consumer products in Ontario which include packaging or printed papers, that company may be considered a “steward.”
A company that qualifies as a steward must determine if its product results in blue box wastes, as designated under the Waste Diversion Act. Such wastes include glass, metal, paper, plastic and textile, or any combination of one or more of these materials. There are provisions that exempt certain stewards from the obligation to register and pay fees. For example, if gross revenues in sales are less than $2 million in 2002, registration and payment of fees is not required. Where Ontario gross sale revenues are greater than $2 million, but the quantity of blue box waste generated is less than 15 tonnes in 2002, the company must register. However, if the company generates less than 15 tonnes of blue box waste in 2003, it is exempt from the payment of fees for the first year of the program. (See Final Analysis article on glass recycling, page 46.)
Quebec’s funding program
Quebec’s Bill 102 was adopted by the National Assembly on December 12, 2002 and came into force on December 18, 2002. It creates an obligation for certain companies to financially compensate municipalities for up to half of the net cost of curbside recycling. On March 18, 2004, a draft regulation under Bill 102 was released for a 60-day public comment period. The draft regulation deals with compensation of municipalities that carry out recycling programs.
Under Bill 102, a new industry funding organization, co Enterprises Qubec, has been incorporated by Collecte Slective Qubec to represent those companies that market containers, packaging and close to a third of the printed materials in Quebec. Efforts have been made to harmonize Bill 102 with the Waste Diversion Act in Ontario. The reason for this is that the companies that will be paying most of the fees associated with the Waste Diversion Act in Ontario tend to do business in Quebec as well.
Rosalind Cooper, LL.B. is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, with offices across Canada. Ms. Cooper is based in Toronto, Ontario. E-mail Rosalind at email@example.com