February 23, 2004

Saskatchewan plans consultations on stewardship programs for electronics, waste paint

Saskatchewan Environment is about to begin consultations on the possibility of establishing new province-wide recycling programs-one to recycle old electronic equipment and the other to handle unwanted paint. Fact sheets prepared by the department propose the development of supporting regulations for each program by early 2005, with e-waste and waste paint recycling programs to be ready for operation in the spring of 2005.

Both programs would be based on the industry-led stewardship models similar to Saskatchewan's scrap tire management and used oil recycling programs. Regulations would require industry related to the designated electronic equipment and paint to manage and operate recycling programs on a non-profit (consumer/user-pay) basis. The relevant industries would be given flexibility to stage the location and operation of collection depots.

"It is important that we all work together to keep hazardous material out of our landfills and out of the environment," said Environment Minister David Forbes. "We want to know what people in the industry as well as consumers have to say about these potential new programs."

Saskatchewan residents throw out more than 1,100 tonnes of old electronic equipment each year, including computers and televisions. This equipment contains many valuable recoverable materials such as aluminum, gold and silver as well as significant amounts of toxic or hazardous material including mercury, lead, and cadmium. Unwanted and waste paint stored in the home or garage is a potential hazard.

Improper disposal of either of these wastes has the potential to cause environmental harm, and previous pilot projects have clearly demonstrated a high level of public interest in recovery/recycling programs for both e-waste and waste paint.

In 2000, for example, Sarcan Recycling conducted pilot e-waste recycling projects at its sheltered workshops in three communities, receiving more than 22,000 units in less than two years without a word of advertising. In 2003, popular demand prompted A&B Sound, a western Canada retailer, to continue an e-waste recycling project it began in Regina in 2002. The project collected 50 tonnes in its first year.

In developing an e-waste recycling program, the provincial government will work with Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPS Canada), an industry group formed in December 2002 to represent the information technology (IT) and consumer electronics sectors in the development of product stewardship programs. Saskatchewan Environment's fact sheet on the proposed program includes a range of estimated recycling fees to be levied on various types of new equipment: computer monitors, $10 to $15 each; central processing units, $7 to $10 each; laptop computers, $2 or $3 each; printers, $6 to $10 each; and television sets, $20 to $25 each.

A new waste paint stewardship program will build upon the Paint-It-Recycled program, co-sponsored since 1993 by SaskTel and the city of Regina. Over the past decade, more than 2.5 million litres (569,000 gallons) of waste paint have been collected through this initiative, which has expanded to include 16 one-day Paint-It-Recycled days in ten cities. More communities have been asking to join the program, with the result that demand has outstripped the ability of existing funds and staff to support it.

The fact sheets are being mailed to stakeholder groups. Interested parties may request the information by calling 306/787-0016, or may download the fact sheets from the Saskatchewan Environment Web site, www.se.gov.sk.ca. More information is available from Victor Chang at Saskatchewan Environment, 306/787-6185, E-mail vchang@serm.gov.sk.ca.

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