September 11, 2006

BC begins process leading to e-waste stewardship program

By this time in 2007, British Columbia will have a recycling program in place for old televisions, computers, computer monitors and desktop printers. It will be managed and administered by Encorp Pacific (Canada), a federally-incorporated, not-for-profit stewardship corporation, reporting to a new entity, British Columbia Electronic Stewardship (BCES, also not-for-profit), to be created by Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC).

Public consultation meetings are being held September 12 through 15 in Prince George, Surrey, Verno and Nanaimo on a draft Stewardship Plan for End-of-Life Electronics, prepared in response to an amendment to BC's recycling regulation promulgated in February 2006. The amendment added a schedule for electronics waste management, requiring a stewardship plan for diverting and recycling end-of-life TVs, computers and peripherals.

The consultation document notes that the proposed plan is intended to fulfill several important criteria, including: convenient collection systems, processing and recycling, re-use of electronic products, accountability and transparency, public education and awareness, and design for the environment.

Convenient drop-off locations, mostly bottle depots, will be designated throughout the province, allowing residents to leave obsolete equipment free of charge. The system will be financed by a fee on new equipment, to be collected and disbursed by Encorp once the drop-off locations are open.

Collected materials will be sent to pre-qualified recyclers and processors who meet the criteria set by EPSC's vendor qualification program. This is an important feature of the BC program, intended to ensure that no unprocessed materials are sent to non-OECD nations (i.e., no e-waste dumping in Third World countries).

Encorp, BC's largest product stewardship agency, is conducting the public consultation on the draft stewardship plan and will be accepting written submissions until September 29, 2006. The draft plan may be viewed on Encorp's Web site, www.encorp.ca. Written comments may be E-mailed to doug@encorpinc.com.

The proposed stewardship plan will then be submitted to the BC Ministry of Environment in October, with start-up slated for August 2007. During the intervening months, Encorp Pacific will be working to set up the collection system, develop a public awareness program and certify recyclers.

More information is available from EPSC vice-president Jay Illingworth, 613/238-4822, ext 225, E-mail jay@epsc.ca, toll-free telephone 1-800-330-9767, or on the Encorp Web site noted above.

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