Beginning next spring, Ontarians will be able to take old computers, monitors, printers and televisions to hundreds of locations across the province thanks to a new electronics diversion program developed by Waste Diversion Ontario.
The plan, approved by Environment Minister John Gerretsen, includes 420 drop-off locations in year one, up from the current 167, and more than 650 in year five. Drop off locations, free to the public, will include charities, municipal depots and recycling companies.
Ontario’s e-waste diversion program will be the first in Canada to set environmental performance targets for collection, reuse, recycling and accessibility. Currently, about 27 per cent of e-waste is reused or recycled, a number that’s set to more than double to 61 per cent by year five.
One of the most important components of the program is that it will manage electronic waste from businesses.
“Ontarians need options for getting rid of their used electronics,” said Environment Minister John Gerretsen. “Far too many computers, printers and televisions, along with their toxic components, end up in landfills and that’s got to end.”
“This is another example of industry and government working together toward a common goal of environmental stewardship,” said Waste Diversion Ontario Chair Gemma Zecchini. “Our plan builds on the producer responsibility programs already in place for Blue Box materials and the hazardous or special waste programs.”
— For the first time in Ontario, industry will pay 100 per cent of the costs of the diversion program. Stewards pay 50 per cent of the Blue Box program, and about 80 per cent of the municipal hazardous or special waste program.
— The costs to manufacturers, brand owners or importers of the products work out to about $13 for a desktop computer and $10 for a TV.
— Ontario households and businesses throw out about 90,000 tonnes of old computers, printers and televisions each year. Best estimates suggest that in five years the amount will grow to 123,000 tonnes, which represents about four million desktop computers, 1.5 million portable computers, 1.2 million monitors, 2.2 million TVs and 1.5 million printers.
— Until the program is up and running in the spring, consumers should call their local municipalities to see what options are available to them for recycling their old electronics.
— See the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Program (http://www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca/) from Ontario Electronic Stewardship, the industry funding organization set up by Waste Diversion Ontario.
For a critique of the plan, see Usman Valiante’s back-page “Blog” article in the current (June/July) edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine or visit www.solidwastemag.com