WEEE can do it too – Ontario to tackle e-waste

The Canadian province of Ontario is set to embrace a producer take-back ideology for e-waste that mirrors that laid down by the WEEE directive in Europe.

From next spring, Ontarians will be able to take unwanted electronics to waste collection banks in hundreds of locations across the province.

The collection will be fully funded by producers and schemes will also be put in place to manage the processing of e-waste from business.

The Ontarian government believes the initiative will more than double recycling rates of e-waste, from 27% to 61% in the next five years.

Ontario’s e-waste diversion programme will be the first in Canada to set environmental performance targets for collection, reuse, recycling and accessibility.

Ontario households and businesses throw out about 90,000 tonnes of old computers, printers and televisions each year. Best estimates suggest that in five years the amount will grow to 123,000 tonnes, which represents about four million desktop computers, 1.5 million portable computers, 1.2 million monitors, 2.2 million TVs and 1.5 million printers.

“Ontarians need options for getting rid of their used electronics,” said Environment Minister John Gerretsen.

“Far too many computers, printers and televisions, along with their toxic components, end up in landfills and that’s got to end.”

Schemes are already in place where producers contribute towards the cost of collection and disposal of hazardous wastes and other items in Ontario, but this will be the first time those responsible for the manufacture and sale of goods will be forced to shoulder the full financial burden.

Those costs are expected to work out at about CA$13 (£6.50) for a desktop computer and CA$10 (£5) for a TV.

Sam Bond

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