At a joint press conference, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and representatives from the Ontario Electronic Resource Recovery Alliance (OERRA) called on the Ontario environment minister to reject a proposal by Waste Diversion Ontario for a waste electrical and electronics equipment (WEEE) recycling program. CTF Ontario Director, Kevin Gaudet said, “This is simply a flawed plan that will cost jobs, impose more costs to consumers and, ultimately, do little for the environment. It should be rejected, sent back and reworked.”
Says Gaudet, “The proposed WEEE program involves the minister of environment passing a law that allows manufacturers to add new and unavoidable consumer charges to new electronic and electrical products — ostensibly to generate revenues to cover the costs of recycling old electronics. These consumer charges will not provide manufacturers with an incentive for better environmental product design nor do they provide incentives for better environmental decision-making by consumers. Simply, plainly and factually this is a new consumer tax. Real environmental stewardship does not involve new taxes. It involves industry incorporating the costs of recycling into their products and building superior environmental design into their products as a means to reduce those costs all as part of putting competitively priced products on the market.”
Gaudet was joined at the press conference by two of OERRA’s founding members: Dennis Maslo, Managing Partner of Computation Ltd. and Patrick Hebert, Director of Thriftopia.com Ltd.
Maslo said: “We are unequivocally supportive of the intention to recover, reuse and recycle more WEEE and to ensure that it is not disposed of improperly or exported to jurisdictions with low or no environmental standards for ‘recycling’. To allow the establishment of a buying monopoly will effectively allow one set of economic interests — large multinational original electronic equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and related entities — to effectively control the WEEE processing industry and potentially sideline and eliminate many existing and fully qualified WEEE processing businesses — particularly smaller entities that are committed to maximizing the reuse of WEEE while recycling the remainder.”
Hebert stated: “The OES plan will undermine the existing growing waste electronics re-use and recycling sector in Ontario. With a monopoly of major electronic companies and big box retailers controlling the waste electronics market small local players such as ourselves will be effectively excluded from participating. Of equal concern is the lack of incentives for consumers to participate and for organizations to eliminate the use of toxic substances in product design.”
A simple and effective approach to promoting the reuse and recycling of waste electronics would be for the minister of environment to:
ban waste electronics from landfills;
institute comprehensive operating standards for waste electronics reusers and recyclers; and
mandate that any waste electronics program established by electronics manufacturers must allow the open participation of all existing waste electronics recovery, reuse and recycling companies that can operate to an approved and appropriate environmental standard.
Gaudet concluded, “We hope the minister will heed the advice from Ontario small businesses and not start down the road of this new electronics tax as has been proposed.”
OERRA is a supported-based organization comprised of a wide array of stakeholders involved in Ontario’s WEEE diversion plan.
About Computation Ltd
Computation Ltd. was established in 2001 and has locations in Toronto and Montreal The firm is a full-service e-waste processor and technical support/ IT services provider that is uniquely positioned to divert e-waste through reduction, reuse, and recycling. They have diverted in excess of approximately 1 million pounds of WEEE to date.
About Thriftopia.com Ltd
Thiftopia.com is a Barrie, Ontario electronics and computer recycling company that employs people with ‘barriers and challenges that keep them from acquiring employment’. It has diverted over 12 tonnes of waste.
For more information please contact:
Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Managing Partner, Computation Ltd.