Canada Embraces E-Waste Recycling
Canada Embraces E-Waste Recycling
Electronics and electrical equipment of all kinds – from computers to food processors to cell phones to nail guns – are on a new list issued by the government of Ontario of items that could be kept out of landfills and diverted into a special program. Ontario Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky announced that the provincial government is protecting the environment by taking steps to divert electronics and electrical equipment (e-waste) from disposal. The first step was publication of the list.
Last year, Canadians sent 157,000 tons 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,” she said. “We need to take action now to stop this and to protect our environment for future generations.
There are currently 14 e-waste recycling facilities in Ontario. The minister intends to require a company called Waste Diversion Ontario to develop a waste diversion program for waste electronic and electrical equipment. The Minister must first designate materials that could be the subject of a waste diversion program as waste under the act. 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, childrens 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.
Of the 157,000 metric tons of e-wastes disposed of in Canada in 2002, only 9,000 metric tons were disposed of through recycling, including 775 metric tons in several large Ontario municipalities.
Estimates show that e-waste disposal will grow to 206,000 metric tons by 2010.
Waste Diversion Ontario was established in 2002 as a permanent, nongovernmental corporation operated by a board of directors and made up of industry, municipal and nongovernmental representatives. It has developed a program that funds 50 percent 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. Thats good news for the environment and our communities.
Meanwhile, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a non-profit public service organization dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries, announced the nationwide launch of Call2Recycle, its cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling program.
Starting this week, cell phone and battery collection boxes will be shipped to over 4,000 participating retailers, communities, public agencies and businesses, providing a convenient service to all Canadians who own a cell phone.
Cell phones collected through the Call2Recycle program will be refurbished, recycled or resold when possible by ReCellular, Inc.
A national promotional campaign, including public service announcements featuring famous hockey player Guy Lafleur, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens, is underway.
Lafleur helped to kick-off the recycling campaign today when he accepted the first cell phone from Dombrowsky.
“It should be everyone’s goal to be an environmental champion,” said Guy Lafleur. “And recycling used cell phones and rechargeable batteries is an easy way to score one for the environment.”
According to a survey conducted by Maritz Research on behalf of RBRC, 68 percent of Canadian households are in possession of at least one cell phone, and 39 percent of households surveyed own two or more cell phones.
About half of people surveyed are unaware that cell phones are recyclable, though 79 percent said they would do so if provided with convenient drop-off points.
“Our survey showed that Canadians are ready and willing to help the environment by recycling their old cell phones,” said Ralph Millard, executive vice president, RBRC.
“Expanding our recycling program to include the collection of cell phones is a natural fit for us. Our primary goal is to collect and recycle more rechargeable batteries, but an added benefit is the ability to provide a solution other than landfill for the growing number of cell phones no longer in use by Canadians.”
The Call2Recycle program sets up convenient retail locations across Canada and the United States for householders to drop off old cell phones
Cell phones and rechargeable batteries can be collected in the same box.
The toll free number where people can find out where the nearest drop-off site is located is 877-2-RECYCLE.
Websites dedicated to providing program information and drop-off locations are found at: http://www.call2recycle.org
There are over 30,000 retail and community battery collection locations throughout Canada and the United States that participate in RBRC’s cell phone and battery recycling program. RBRC is funded by more than 300 manufacturers and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products.
“There is a strong movement in the marketplace to behave more responsibly in the disposal of the products consumers acquire and use,” said David Betts, president of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada, an association of consumer electronics and information technology companies such as Canon, Dell, IBM, Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba.
“We’ve already had a generation of experience recycling products such as newspapers and bottles,” said Betts. “The electronics and IT industries recognize the need to ensure an equally responsible approach to end-of-life management of the products and tools that we produce.”
Source: Environmental News Service (ENS).