Final directive issued for Ontario WEEE diversion program
Environment Minister Laurel Broten has directed Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to develop an industry-funded waste diversion program for electronic waste. The program will recognize the value of these materials and ensure potentially toxic components, like lead and mercury, are kept out of landfills.
A detailed proposal for the first phase of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) diversion program, due by February 1, 2008, will address products that are among those with the lowest diversion rates. It will deal with desktop and notebook computers, monitors, desktop printers and televisions.
Phase II will address telephones, audio players and recorders, radios, speakers and cameras. A full proposal for this phase will be due within a year after the first phase is approved by the Minister.
The WEEE program proposal is to include an implementation plan and performance measures for the diversion program, a set of vendor qualification requirements, an annual audit of the vendors qualified to process WEEE under the program, results of public consultations on the development of the diversion program, and a comprehensive plan for public education and awareness.
Broten's letter to WDO follows from a December 2004 letter to the non-crown corporation and, together with an addendum detailing requirements and materials covered, represents a final program request.
Figures from a WDO study indicate that only about 2% of the more than 1.5 million computers and other computer equipment discarded in 2004 were diverted. WDO further reported that less than 1% of TVs and other audio-visual equipment and 2% of telecommunications equipment were diverted in 2004.
In response to the directive, WDO has organized the first of a series of consultation workshops to support development of a WEEE diversion program. It is scheduled as both a workshop and an on-line Webcast, to be held June 26, 2007 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. (time approximate). Registration is free of charge. Presentations will take place at the Novotel Toronto Centre hotel, 45 The Esplanade, Toronto, and will address:
* the Waste Diversion Act and Waste Diversion Ontario;
* the final WEEE program request letter;
* the revised consultation plan; and
* a process to establish a WEEE industry funding organization (IFO).
"We applaud Ontario's move towards industry-led product stewardship for selected end-of-life electronics," said IBM Canada's Garry Travers, chair of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada, an industry group representing leading electronics manufacturers. "Our industry has stepped up and shown our environmental leadership in the development of harmonized, responsible electronics recycling programs across Canada. Working in partnership with retailers, municipalities and other key stakeholders we will make the Ontario program a success."
"A regulation is an important first step to diverting electronic wastes from disposal," said Jo-Anne St Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario. "We look forward to assisting in the design of the program to ensure that it is environmentally effective and economically efficient."