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 Tuesday
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
E-waste discarded in a heap. (Photo courtesy SPEC)The
draft regulation also identifies more than 200 items that could be
designated, including computers, telephones, broadcast equipment,
televisions and CD players, children’s 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
“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.
That’s good news for the environment and our communities.”
The public is invited to comment on the draft regulation. It is
available for 30 days on the Environmental Registry on the
ministry’s website at
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/023878er.htm or by calling
The deadline for comments is November 25, 2004. After a review of
comments received on the draft regulation, the Minister will issue a
designation letter to Waste Diversion Ontario.
Meanwhile, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC),
a non-profit public service organization dedicated to recycling
rechargeable batteries, Tuesday announced the nationwide launch of
Call2Recycle, its cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling
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.
Guy Lafleur and Ontario Minister of the Environment, Leona
Dombrowsky help to launch Call2Recycle, a cell phone recycling
program by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation.
(Photo courtesy RBRC)"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 and rechargeable batteries can be collected in the
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 and
Householders, retailers, communities or public agencies may
participate in the recycling program free of charge.
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
"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