Solid Waste & Recycling


Waste Initiatives across Canada (April 01, 2011)

B.C. small appliance program

B.C. small appliance program

As of July 1, 2011, consumers in British Columbia will be able to drop off their small appliances for recycling at established collection points in the province. These collection depots will be listed and available online by July 1, 2011. Appliances eligible for drop-off include everything from coffee makers to vacuum cleaners, hair curlers, irons, clocks and more.

The program will be operated by the non-profit Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA) and will be funded by environmental handling fees remitted to CESA by its members which are, generally, the product producers (the manufacturer, distributor or brand-owner) and in some cases the importer, broker or retailer who sells the product directly to a consumer (e.g., via catalogue or the internet).

There can be voluntary remitters under the program. These parties volunteer to report, such as a retailer on behalf of a manufacturer. Where a company’s customers have all agreed to be voluntary remitters and to undertake the reporting obligations, the manufacturer does not need to report, but should inform CESA of which companies are reporting on the manufacturer’s behalf. CESA has also requested that companies that believe that they are not obliged to report and remit fees advise CESA of this and the basis for the decision.

Members can join CESA by completing an online registration and has CESA requested that members do so by April 1, 2011. Members must file reports on the quantity of their products sold on a monthly basis through the reporting system. The reports and the environmental handling fees are due by the end of the month following the reporting period. Fees are subject to HST. Member fee obligations will start on August 1, 2011, with the first report and fee remittance being due by the end of September of 2011.

Fluorescent lamp program update

The Recycling Council of Ontario established a program for the recycling of mercury-containing lamps. The program is called “Take Back the Light” and is the first such stewardship program in Canada designed for the industrial, commercial and institutional sector. The first target established under the program was to capture and recycle more than two million lamps. That objective was achieved six months ahead of the scheduled date.

On May 31, 2010, customers began returning their fluorescent light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and incandescent bulbs to Canadian Tire stores across Ontario. This service was provided by Canadian Tire at no cost to residents and small businesses. The limit on the number of units that can be recycled in this manner at one time is 24 compact fluorescent lamps or 16 linear fluorescent tubes.

At least 80 per cent of each bulb collected through the program is recycled by Aevitas Inc. in Ayr, Ontario, whose plant has been approved by the Ministry of the Environment as a fluorescent lamp reclamation facility. The components of the bulbs (glass, metal, phosphorus and mercury) are recovered and used in new products.

Saskatchewan grain bag recycling

On March 24, 2011, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Agriculture announced that the provincial and federal governments were joining with the Provincial Council of Agriculture Development and Diversification Boards (PCAB) to launch a one-year pilot project to recycle grain bags.

The program will be operational by July of 2011; be six main collection depots will be set up, with multiple drop-off points in each region. Bags will be shipped to Calgary for recycling. At the end of the year it will be determined whether the program will continue or whether the grain bags will become the responsibility of manufacturers and producers.

Quebec funds organics diversion

The Government of Quebec has announced that it will spend $71.6 million by 2015 on a waste management program for diverting organic waste from landfill sites. This is in addition to the existing $650 million in federal, provincial and municipal subsidies for composting and biogas plants in Quebec.

Currently, Quebec produces 13 million tonnes of residential waste each year and the province is determined to reduce the quantity going to landfill from 810 kilograms per person in 2008 to 700 kilograms by 2015. One of the major ways in which this will be accomplished is by eliminating organic waste going to landfill sites by 2020. The first step, however, is to ensure that the composting and biogas plants are operational by 2014 to accept such wastes.

In addition to the focus on organic waste, the plan calls for the recycling of 70 per cent of paper, carton, plastic, glass and metal waste and 80 per cent of concrete, brick, and asphalt by 2015. Further, by year-end, the province will have regulations in place for returning batteries, electronic products and light bulbs to the point of purchase.

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

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