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Retailers applaud Ontario battery recycling announcement


TORONTO – Retail Council of Canada (RCC) applauds yesterday’s announcement by Minister Yurek and the Ontario Government to move battery recycling to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) for oversight and management.

Under this new recycling model, producers of products and packaging will now be required take on the full cost to recycle their goods and will need to meet annual recycling targets.

Currently, end-of-life recycling can add up to 10 percent of the total before tax costs to a product. This has seen retailers in Ontario lose sales to out-of-province and US-based online retailers who can offer lower prices that do not include recycling charges.

RCC and several of its members worked with RPRA on their first Blue Box program, which focused on tire recycling, and are encouraged at the new legislation. RCC is confident the resulting reduction in red tape will allow business to both effectively achieve Ontario’s ambitious recycling objectives while lowering the cost of the price of batteries for Ontario customers – customers who currently pay for the most expensive battery recycling program in the world.

“The existing system actually incentivizes Ontario recycling companies to import depleted batteries from the United States and does so at Ontario consumers’ expense,” said Sebastian Prins, director of government relations (Ontario), Retail Council of Canada.

“The new regulations will mandate that product producers responsibly design batteries with end-of-life costs and concerns in mind. This will create a more transparent and streamlined system that benefits retailers, consumers and the environment alike. Yesterday’s announcement is especially promising because it sets the foundation for what will likely to be the blueprint for other recycling programs that are still to be outlined; for electronics, for hazardous waste and for product packaging.”

Affected producer Panasonic Canada supports the new regulation. Peter Maddock, the company’s manager of environmental and regulatory compliance, noted that Ontario consumers pay for the most expensive battery recycling program in the world.

“This was the result of the implementation of a cost sharing model with financial incentives that were above and beyond market rates,” he said.

“By moving to this new regulatory framework yesterday’s regulation paves the way for a more transparent and cost-effective program, in tune with the proper cost of recycling our end-of-life batteries.”