Revised Ontario WEEE plan
The draft “Final (Phase 1 and 2) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Program Plan,” that was posted by Waste Diversion Ontario for comment, has now been approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The Plan revises and replaces the “Final Phase I Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Program Plan” that was approved by the ministry on July 10, 2008.
The revised plan comes into force on April 1, 2010. In the interim, Ontario Electronics Stewardship will continue to implement the Phase I Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Program Plan that commenced on April 1, 2009. The revisions to the existing Plan include the addition of the second phase of waste electrical and electronic equipment materials, and incorporate new information gathered since the approval of the Phase I Plan.
The revisions permit stewards, who already operate or are interested in operating closed-loop end-of-life management systems for their electrical and electronic equipment products, to participate under the program. The revisions also include a modified “direct ship option” to address those situations where generators of waste electrical and electronic equipment are not able to send materials through the program’s consolidation system (due to security concerns).
There’s also increased flexibility for waste electrical and electronic equipment generators and collection sites. First, the sorting and packaging requirements have been expanded to allow for containers approved by Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES). Second, waste electrical and electronic equipment generation sites, that would not otherwise qualify to be approved collection sites, will be allowed to participate under the program.
The revisions also amend the fee-setting methodology to include calculation of a program compliance fee, and add new materials and revise other material categories to allow increased accuracy in Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) cost models and fee setting calculations.
Zero Waste in British Columbia?
The Recycling Council of British Columbia has produced a report entitled “On the Road to Zero Waste: Priorities for Local Government.” The report discusses the “zero waste” alternative, which is defined as “a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary, to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use.” The focus is on designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, and to conserve and recover all resources.
The report indicates that if a zero waste approach was applied in British Columbia, it would maximize levels of diversion from landfill and promote waste reduction and prevention. The intention is to eliminate the concept of waste, rather than managing waste after it’s produced. Some of the methods suggested in the report for achieving zero waste include pay-as-you-throw systems, disposal bans, comprehensive organics collection and management programs, green procurement, economic incentives, social marketing and education, and extended producer responsibility. (See news item, page 7.)
Public spaces recycling pilot
Ontario’s first-ever public spaces recycling program has been launched by the City of Sarnia, Refreshments Canada, the Canadian Bottled Water Association, Nestl Waters Canada, and Waste Diversion Ontario. The objectives of the program are to pursue recyclable items that are abandoned by consumers in various locations, including park spaces, recreation facilities such as arenas, transit stops, bars and restaurants, elementary and secondary schools, convenience stores and gas stations, and that otherwise would be part of Ontario’s blue box curbside recycling program.
A similar program was launched in Quebec by the beverage industry and the Quebec government in June 2008. The recovery rates being achieved in that program are 85 per cent and include recyclables such as glass, aluminium, plastic and paper. The results of the Sarnia pilot program will be considered by Ontario’s environment ministry as a means of enhancing the existing blue box program.
Measuring performance on battery recycling
Two organizations have come together to produce a study on battery recycling metrics. One of the organizations is Call2Recycle, which is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America, and the other is the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). The report entitled “Battery Performance Metrics: Recommendations for Best Practice,” considers how stewardship performance is measured and offers guidance that stakeholders can use to evaluate and strengthen battery collection initiatives.
Currently, governments and businesses use a variety of methodologies to determine collection and participation rates in recycling. These methodologies result in discrepancies and create difficulties in assessing the success of the various recycling initiatives. The objective of the report is to encourage the use of common metrics, and greater access to data to evaluate the performance of battery collection programs. (See news item, page 43.)
Ontario’s Blue Box Program Plan revised
Ontario’s environment ministry has requested that certain changes be made to the Blue Box Program Plan under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 and that the revised plan be submitted to the ministry by April 30, 2010. The changes include establishing an overall 70 per cent diversion target to be achieved by December 31, 2011 and revising the calculation of the quantity of blue box wastes diverted by incorporating residential blue box waste that’s collected via non-municipal collection systems.
In addition, the changes include identification and inclusion of packaging-like material sold as products (such as empty aluminium pie plates) that are compatible with current collection systems. The minister has also requested that WDO review the management of packaging and printed paper by Ontario municipalities, and provide a report by February 28, 2010 with recommendations.
Rosalind Cooper, LL. B., is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, with offices across Canada. Ms. Cooper is based in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Rosalind at email@example.com
“The changes include establishing an overall 70 per cent diversion target to be achieved by December 31, 2011.”