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Jul 12
2009

Waste Electrical & Electronics Equipment (WEEE) Recycling

Posted by: Geoff Jones

Tagged in: General

Geoff Jones
Recently, someone I know purchased an LCD TV at a local electronics shop and was charged an Electronic Handling Fee.  I haven't purchased any electronics for a while so I wasn't aware what this was.  So, I decided to look into it a little more and thought that maybe I'm not the only one who wasn't aware of the WEEE program that Ontario launched on April 1, 2009.  Did you know about it?  I have to admit that even reading the local paper almost daily for the past year and being pretty in tune with environmental initiatives, this one somehow escaped me.  So here's a quick overview of what it's all about for anyone else that might not have read, or heard, about it before.

On June 11, 2007, the Minister of the Environment requested the development of an industry funded diversion program for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002. The request required the program to be implemented in 2 phases. Phase 1 includes desktop and portable computers, monitors, printers, computer peripherals and televisions and was approved in July 2008.  The actual phase 1 program itself took effect in Ontario on April 1, 2009.  This might be why I didn't notice it earlier because if you haven't purchased an electronic product recently that falls under the WEE program you wouldn't have noticed the new fee.  The WEEE program is being managed by a not-for-profit organization known as the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES).

In the first year of the program, which began April 1, 2009, the target is to divert 17,000 new tonnes (34,000,000 lbs) of computers, monitors, printers, disk drives, keyboards, mice, fax machines and televisions from landfill. At the end of five years, the diversion target is 75,000 tonnes or 60% of available materials.

What Does This All Mean?

Well, it means that Ontario is getting serious about reducing and recycling electronic waste and has developed a program by which fee's are charged to electronics manufacturers (Ontario based) or importers etc. who sell electronics within the province.  The fees collected are to be used to run the WEEE program(s) and provide further awareness and access to recycling options for electronics equipment.  The fees that are charged to the stewards (the manufacturer, importer, brand owner) are often (if not always) passed on directly or indirectly to the consumer as some type of electronic waste handling fee. 

I'm not mentioning this fee to create a revolt or get anyone worked up.  I have also already noticed recently some electronic recyclers in the local area that accept drop off of electronic waste at no-charge as a result of the new WEEE program.  The last time I had electronic waste to dispose of there was a fee to drop off my electronics unless the E-Waste location had a special event or awareness program. So it appears that some of the intent of the WEEE program may already be taking effect.  On the OES website they mention that we should be able to drop off WEEE at approved locations free of charge but at the same time they do not guarantee that all locations will provide collection services free of charge.  I'm not sure what this means yet so double check with your E-Waste depot first. 

Why?

In Ontario, more than 91,000 tonnes (182,000,000lbs) of electrical and electronics equipment are available for reuse and recycling every year. About one-quarter of it is being managed properly. Under normal usage unwanted electronics pose little or no hazard, however, many electronic products do contain materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury, that if not handled properly could have environmental impacts and cause health and safety concerns.  Thus, the safe handling and proper management of WEEE at the end of its life is crucial. The Minister of the Environment designated WEEE for a special diversion program to ensure that unwanted electronics are reused or recycled, and to stem the flow of these materials to landfill or improper processing in developing nations.

Search the web to find out more about the impacts of E-Waste.  Here is one article I found with a quick search: http://www.processor.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles/p3105/30p05/30p05/30p05.asp

Here is a video (just one of many) discussing the impact of E-Waste in just one of many developing countries.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JZey9GJQP0 425x344]

Where Can I Drop Off My E-Waste

As part of the program the Ontario Electronic Stewardship organization is working to setup OES certified drop off locations all across Ontario.  If you are unsure where you take your E-Waste you can use this website to find a depot location close to you.

http://www.dowhatyoucan.ca/

What Products Does WEEE Cover?

The materials covered in the approved Phase 1 plan include:

  • Desktop computers
  • Portable computers
  • Computer peripherals
  • Monitors
  • Televisions
  • Printing devices

The materials in the new (not approved yet) Phase 1 and Phase 2 proposal include:

  • Display Devices: Monitor (CRT), Monitor (LCD), Monitor (Plasma), Television (CRT), Television (LCD), Television (Plasma), Television (Rear Projection)
  • Desktop Computers: Computer terminal, Microcomputer, Minicomputer, Personal computer (Desktop)
  • Portable Computers: Personal computer (Laptop),Personal computer (Notebook),Personal computer (Notepad)
  • Computer Peripherals: CD-ROM drive, Computer disk drive, Computer keyboard, Computer mouse, Modem
  • Printing, Copying and Multi-Function Devices: Copier, Printer, Computer flatbed scanner, Typewriter, Fax machine
  • Telephones and Telephone Answering Machines: Telephone (Cordless), Telephone (Wire line), Telephone Answering Machine
  • Cellular Devices and Pagers: Personal Digital Assistant (cell-enabled), Pager, Telephone (Cellular)
  • Image, Audio and Video Devices: Personal Handheld Computer, Personal Digital Assistant (Non-cell-enabled), Amplifier, Audio Player (tape, disk, digital), Audio Recorder (tape, disk, digital), Camera (film, tape, disk,digital), Equalizer, Preamplifier, Radio, Receiver, Speaker, Tuner, Turntable, Video player or projector (tape, disk, digital), Video recorder (tape, disk, digital)

Current Fee Schedule

The current fee schedule (April 1, 2009 - March 21, 2010), which you may see when you purchases an electronic product covered by the WEEE program, for the existing approved phase 1 (currently in effect) is:

Hardware Component Includes Tariff

Desktop Computers (CPU, computer terminal): $13.44/unit
Portable Computers (Laptop, Notebook): $2.14/unit
Computer Peripherals (Disk drive, keyboard,Mouse): $0.32/unit
Monitors (CRT, LCD, Plasma): $12.03/unit
Televisions (CRT, LCD, Plasma, Rear Projection): $10.07/unit
Printing Devices (printer, fax machine): $5.05/unit

More Info on the WEEE Program

On July 10, 2009 the Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) organization released the revised phase 1 and new phase 2 WEEE program for public comment.  If you are interested in more details you can review and comment on the new draft of the WEEE program at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTA3MDY2&statusId=MTYwNzM1&language=en or visit the Ontario Electronic Stewardship organizations website at http://www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca/.

There is also some additional information about the program available at: http://www.dowhatyoucan.ca/

Comments (4)add
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FREE Computer Recycling and Electronic Waste Collection event in KITCHENER
written by Ryan , November 21, 2010
From December 1st-8th 2010, drop your unwanted electronics off at RONA in Kitchener, Ontario.

730 Ottawa Street South, Kitchener ON in the RONA Parking Lot.

visit www.myoldPC.ca for more details
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Computer Repair and Service California
written by Nancy Williams , April 19, 2010
The post is really very good thanks.http://www.thenetworkpro.net/

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myoldPC.ca a rapidly growing OES Collector of E-Waste
written by Ryan , March 25, 2010
myoldPC.ca is an independently operated website hosted by Computer Waste Depot Inc. Working in cooperation with your Local RONA, to offer Canadians a free solution to e-waste disposal and recycling.

Operating a CERTIFIED OES Collection site in Waterloo, Ontario, myoldPC.ca offers the rest of Canada a source to FREE disposal centers, which are ALSO certified under their provinces landfill diversion program.

Please visit http://www.DoWhatYouCan.ca, is it is your primary resource for compliant e-waste collectors in the Province of Ontario.

Yours Truly,

The Team at Computer Waste Depot Inc.
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written by Pure Planet Recycling , January 27, 2010
That's interesting to hear about Ontarios plans for coping with WEEE waste. It is good that the charges are publicised and educated to the buyer at point of purchase. In the UK, some retailers operate their own take back service, others publicise the local authority run recycling centres for recycling your old electrical waste. We operate a business to business collection service for [weee recycling][http://www.pureplanetrecycling.co.uk] of all electrical waste types.
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