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. We returned the program to financial stability and 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.
In 2021, producers’ collection target will be 55% of the weight of the product they put on market in 2018. Regulations provide “circular economy” incentives to reduce each producer’s baseline performance measurement weight. Essentially, weight requirements can go down if producers show evidence their systems include reuse and refurbishment, post-consumer recycled content, extended warranties, or right-to-repair provisions.
EPRA Ontario (EPRAON) is uniquely qualified to help obligated producers successfully navigate this new regulatory environment. An 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.
EPRA was responsible for establishing an auditing process through the organization’s Recycler Qualification Office (RQO), which audits recyclers against requirements laid out in the internationally recognized Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS) 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 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.
EPRA also offers Canadian businesses and citizens of Ontario access to secure and convenient electronics recycling options through over 2,500 drop-off locations
January 2021 is fast approaching (in fact, the new year may already be here by the time you read these words), and producers will need to act quickly to remain compliant with the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act. EPRAON is a registered PRO with regulatory and logistical expertise, meaning it is uniquely positioned to manage this process on behalf of its stewards.
Jay Illingworth is director of harmonization at the Electronic Products Recycling Association and can be contacted at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of E-Scrap News. Subscribe today for access to all print content.