04/02/2008

Facts and additional clarity are provided concerning the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Program Plan. This update also responds to a range of interpretations reflected in recent media stories.
Background:

The WEEE diversion program, if approved by the Minister, will be 100% funded by industry stewards.   

Fees levied by Waste Diversion Ontario through its Industry Funding Organization, Ontario Electronic Stewardship, will be charged to industry and will be used to cover the costs of the collection and diversion program.

This program will shift the cost burden for the management of waste electronics from municipal property taxpayers and individual businesses to those that actually derive a benefit from the production and usage of the product – producers and consumers. 

The program will increase diversion and minimize environmental costs:

  • electronics contain toxic components, like lead and mercury, that are harmful to our environment and to our health - these substances need to be kept out of landfills and our environment; and
  • with the growing number of electronic products, a plan to keep them out of landfills and to increase reuse and recycling is needed.
The first phase of the proposed program will target desktop and portable computers, computer peripherals, monitors, printers and televisions.

A plan for second phase materials, such as phones, cameras and audio-visual equipment, will follow 12 months after approval of the first phase.

The program commits to increased accessibility for all Ontario residents by increasing WEEE collection locations from an estimated 167 current collection locations to about 420 in Year 1 and over 650 in Year 5. It is expected that collection locations will include reuse organizations, second hand organizations, charities providing household collection of used items, municipalities, waste management and recycling companies, as well as mobile events where required.

The program includes:

  • reuse targets and proposes to promote reuse organizations through promotion and educational program so that Ontario residents know where to direct their WEEE for reuse;
  • collection targets, increasing from 27% or 24,800 tonnes currently to 43% or 42,000 tonnes in Year 1 and 61% or 75,300 tonnes in Year 5; and
  • reuse and recycling vendor standards.  Ontario is the first jurisdiction to develop reuse standards for waste electronics.
Once in place, this program would provide all Ontarians with access to best practice management options for waste electronics.

Status:

After consultation with the public, municipalities, industry and other stakeholders, Waste Diversion Ontario submitted the WEEE Program Plan to the Minister of the Environment on March 31, 2008.

The Minister of the Environment is expected to post the WEEE Plan on the Environmental Registry shortly for further public consultation.

Action: For your Information.