The Ontario government has announced plans to divert electronics and electrical equipment (e-waste) from landfill disposal, Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky announced today.
"Last year, Canadians sent 157,000 tonnes of e-waste — things like computers and CD players — to landfills," said Dombrowsky. "Our government knows that these products may contain toxic materials like lead and mercury that are harmful to our health and the environment. We need to take action now to stop this and to protect our environment for future generations."
The draft regulation would give the minister of environment the authority to direct Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to develop a program to reduce any of the e-wastes in the regulation from going to landfill. The program would be developed in cooperation with an organization representing the electronics and electrical equipment industry.
The draft regulation also identifies more than 200 items that could be designated, including computers, telephones, broadcast equipment, televisions and CD players, children’s toys, power tools, lawn mowers and navigational and medical instruments, and has been posted for public comment. This allows the government to proceed with a program that will divert some products and expand the list of products in the future.
While approximately 157,000 tonnes of e-wastes were disposed of in Canada in 2002, only 9,000 tonnes were disposed of through recycling, including 775 tonnes in several large Ontario municipalities. Estimates show that e-waste disposal will grow to 206,000 tonnes by 2010.
WDO was established in 2002 as a permanent, non-government corporation operated by a board of directors and made up of industry, municipal and non-governmental representatives. It has developed a program that funds 50 per cent of blue box net costs.
"We will deliver on our commitment to keep more e-waste out of our landfills, as called for by the environmental commissioner," Dombrowsky said. "Today we are a step closer to achieving that goal. That’s good news for the environment and our communities."
The public is invited to comment on the draft regulation. It is available for 30 days on the Environmental Registry on the ministry’s website at
or by calling 1-800-565-4923. The deadline for comments is November 25, 2004. After a review of comments received on the draft regulation, the Minister will issue a designation letter to Waste Diversion Ontario.
There are currently 14 e-waste recycling facilities in Ontario.
Contact Art Chamberlain, minister’s office at 416-314-5139 or John Steele, communications branch, 416-314-6666 or visit www.ene.gov.on.ca