B.C. and Saskatchewan e-waste recycling
In British Columbia, amendments to the Recycling Regulation under the Environmental Management Act have come into force and, as a result, electronic products are included in the recycling regime. The regulation applies to producers of any product in the “electronic product category” and takes effect 540 days after the regulation came into force on February 28, 2006. The regulation requires that product stewardship plans now cover electronic products.
Similarly, in Saskatchewan, New Waste Electronic Equipment Regulations under the Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002 have come into force. As a result, computers and computer-related peripherals and equipment are now subject to the regulation. Televisions will be subject to the regulation as of February 1, 2007.
The Saskatchewan regulation requires that every “first seller” either operate or engage in an approved product management program. “First sellers” are defined in detail.
The approved product management program must include information regarding collection methods for waste electronic equipment, recycling options in descending order of preference, procedures for processing collected waste equipment, a funding formula, quality control and assurance provisions including auditing, and a public education strategy for the program. The approved product management program must also require that, on or before June 30 in each year, the first seller prepare and submit to the minister a written report describing the activities of the program during the previous year.
New Brunswick considers EPR
New Brunswick is considering the introduction of a multi-material stewardship board, once amendments to the Clean Environment Act are passed. Typically, such boards operate at arm’s length from the government and establish and supervise industry-funded waste diversion programs for specific products, such as beverage containers, used oil, tires, paint and electronics.
What is different about the proposal put forward in New Brunswick, however, is that the legislation provides the minister with the power to prohibit industry from charging separate fees to consumers to cover costs associated with operating the product stewardship plan. While it is uncertain as to whether this power actually will be exercised, it has some industry groups concerned.
New Brunswick’s model would give the multi-material stewardship board authority over programs for a wide range of products. The board would consist of six to twelve members with technical and professional expertise. As materials became subject to stewardship or extended producer responsibility programs, responsibility for those materials would be shifted to the board, which would then deal directly with industry with respect to those materials. Industry could participate through advisory committees to the board. It’s expected that the board will take over responsibility for the province’s two existing programs for beverage containers and tires.
Important Ontario developments
Stewardship Ontario has released its User Pay Program Implementation Guide. The guide is intended to assist Ontario municipalities implement user pay programs for waste in an effort to increase recycling rates. A study conducted during the development of the guide found that user pay programs could achieve improvement in recycling rates by nine to 50 percent. Stewardship Ontario has also approved changes to the steward funding formula for the Blue Box Program Plan to improve accuracy and simplify calculations.
Ontario’s environment minister has announced changes with respect to the focus of Waste Diversion Ontario’s activities. Specifically, there will be no further development of the used oil program, and the finalization of a scrap-tire program has been deferred. In addition, there will be a new program for household hazardous wastes and special wastes to ensure a coordinated, province-wide approach to managing these wastes. Some wastes to be included in the program were expected, such as paint, batteries, household cleaners and fluorescent tubes, but the minister has also included used oil containers and filters.
On June 6 — as we went to press — Ontario’s Minister of the Environment Laurel Broten announced plans to make important changes to the province’s environmental assessment process.
Manitoba reviewing Tire Stewardship Regulation
Manitoba has released a proposed new Tire Stewardship Regulation under its Waste Reduction and Prevention Act. The regulation is intended to shift responsibility for scrap tire management from the current Tire Stewardship Board, which is appointed by the government, to an organization to be established by industry. Manitoba has also released a document entitled Draft for Discussion, Stewardship Regulation Guidelines for Industry Stewards Regarding the Tire Stewardship Regulation. The document includes information on the new regulation, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and provides guidance on the expected components of programs for the management of scrap tires and tubes.
Saskatchewan beverage container recycling pact
The Government of Saskatchewan has signed a three-year agreement with the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) to deliver a province-wide beverage container collection and recycling program. The program is managed and operated by a division of SARC, referred to as SARCAN Recycling. The agreement provides for an additional $700,000 per year over three years, and introduces a new funding formula to allow a greater percentage of the environmental handling charges that are collected to be put towards operation of the program.
Saskatchewan has also initiated a management program for waste paint as of April 1, 2006. The program replaces the previous system whereby waste paint was collected through a voluntary Household Hazardous Waste Round-Up program.
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