Mixed e-scrap gathered for recycling.

EPRA helps prevent electronics from ending up in landfills by providing Canadian businesses and citizens of Ontario access to secure and convenient electronics recycling options through over 2,500 drop-off locations. | cate_89/Shutterstock

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, new electronics recycling regulations in Canada’s most populous province will come into force. These regulations, which passed in September 2020 under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA), mark a major shift in the regulatory landscape for electronic waste in the province of Ontario.

Under this new Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) model, producers of electronics and electrical equipment will be responsible for both collecting and managing their packaging and products once consumers are finished with them. This replaces the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) program.

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) was invited to take on the management of OES back in 2013 and, as a result, has not only returned the program to financial stability but has also streamlined and harmonized much of the administration to make it easier for stewards (manufacturers, electronics distributors and retailers) to operate in the province of Ontario.

EPRA is already registered as a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) in Ontario and looking forward to helping stewards in 2021.

Mandatory, enforceable requirements

Under the new legislation, producers – including OEMs, brand owners, first importers and others – have the option of collecting and recycling end-of-life material or contracting these services to a registered PRO, like EPRA. Similar models are currently in practice in some parts of Europe and a few of the states in the U.S.

The first year of the new regulation, 2021, will set the target for producers at 55% of the weight of the product they put on market in 2018. Regulations provide “circular economy” incentives to reduce the producer’s baseline performance measurement-weight, including reuse and refurbishment (which is doubled if that facility is in Ontario), post-consumer recycled content, extended warranties and right-to-repair provisions.

Uniquely qualified, experienced leader

EPRA Ontario (EPRAON) is uniquely qualified to help obligated producers successfully navigate this new regulatory environment. As an award-winning and industry-led organization, EPRA operates regulated recycling programs across the country through the largest network of qualified processors, transporters and drop-off locations in Canada.

For over a decade, the organization has helped retailers, electronic producers and manufacturers throughout Canada meet their legislative obligations across diverse regulatory landscapes.

Benchmark metrics, auditing and standards

EPRA was responsible for establishing an auditing process through the organization’s Recycler Qualification Office (RQO), which audits recyclers against the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS) requirements to ensure the integrity of EPRA’s processors and their downstream partners.

All recyclers under the program are qualified against the international recycling standard and audited regularly. This process ensures that recyclers are maintaining appropriate environmental, health and safety controls, plus proper handling of all materials. All verified recyclers must responsibly process materials entrusted to them by EPRA.

To date, EPRA has been responsible for safely and securely recycling over 1 million metric tons of electronics across Canada, diverting them from landfills and illegal export while ensuring the resources inside are recovered, recycled and put back into the manufacturing supply chain.

Service, integrity and security

Taking a collaborative approach to their partnerships with stewards and providing customizable strategies has allowed EPRA to make a direct impact on the bottom line for customers. For over a decade, EPRA has been setting the standard for safe and secure electronics recycling and implementing customized recycling solutions for obligated stewards.

In 2020, a third-party survey revealed that EPRA achieved 99% satisfaction for front-line practice from over 7,000 stewards that it represents.

Access, accountability and our shared future

EPRA helps prevent electronics from ending up in landfills by providing Canadian businesses and citizens of Ontario access to secure and convenient electronics recycling options through over 2,500 drop-off locations.

For consumers and stewards alike, recycling electronics through the EPRA program not only ensures the safe and secure destruction of data, it also diverts e-waste from Canadian landfills and prevents e-waste from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible recyclers. Recovering and recycling resources from electronics and putting them back into the manufacturing supply chain conserves natural resources by lessening our dependence on mining for new resources.

January 2021 is fast approaching, and producers will need to act quickly to remain compliant with the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act. With regulatory and logistical expertise plus streamlined processes and as a registered PRO, EPRAON is uniquely positioned to manage this process on behalf of its stewards.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Resource Recycling, Inc. If you have a subject you wish to cover in an op-ed, please send a short proposal to [email protected] for consideration.

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