Ontarians are frantically researching the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) program that will come into effect in the province as of April 1, 2009, and see manufacturers, brand owners, and first importers forking over 100% of the cost for recycling old devices. What's this all about?
Set up by the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) organization (www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca), the program will include the development of several drop-off locations for used electronics, along with the recycling of various types of electronics. Phase 1, which begins on April 1, includes desktop and portable computers, computer peripherals, monitors, printers, fax machines, and TVs. Phase 2, which will be implemented a year later, will include phones, cameras, A/V equipment, and other similar gadgetry.
What most worry about, however, is how to work in the extra costs that will be incurred to fund the program. Brand owners, importers, assemblers, and franchisors will have to pay every cost associated with recycling their products, from collection to transport and processing. The cost per TV, for example, could run as high as $10 per unit. GST will be included so far, but PST will not. Will manufacturers and retailers pass these costs on to consumers, or absorb them through other means?
"The WEEE diversion program does not tell the companies that are obligated to pay fees on the designated products how to manage these costs," explains the OES. "It is up to the individual companies and their retail customers to make their own decisions. Some companies will internalize the cost, while others may charge consumers an environmental handling fee at the point of purchase."
With so many "green" friendly consumers out there, many should be more than happy to pay an extra $10 per TV or $13 per computer in order to contribute to saving the environment, right?
The OES is still working to develop the infrastructure and administrative requirements to operate the WEEE program; but those who wish to register now as stewards for Phase 1 of WEEE can do so at https://mtsreg.oesdatasystem.ca/login.aspx.