Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Ontario
New report pushes for maximum diversion of
Ontario's electronic waste
(Toronto, Ontario, January 23, 2008) Today, the
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) released Waste
Bytes! Diverting Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Ontario (www.cielap.org
While commending the Ontario government for launching the Ontario Electronic
Stewardship (OES) process to divert electronic waste from landfill, the
CIELAP report calls on the Ontario government to ensure that OES'
industry-funded program has clear and aggressive diversion targets for reuse
and recycling. OES faces a March 31, 2008 deadline to finalize its Program
plan for diverting electronic waste in the province. Comments on the
initial draft plan are invited from the public until February 4, 2008.
"Disposing of electronic wastes such as old computers, cell phones,
televisions and even i-Pods is a huge and growing problem. It is estimated
that over 14,500,000 units of e-waste were discarded in Ontario in 2004, of
which only around 9% were collected for reuse or recycling. This waste
stream is growing at around 3-5% each year", stated Anne Mitchell, Executive
Director of CIELAP. "Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE)
contain toxic and hazardous substances, including mercury, PCBs, PBDE, and
cadmium. Waste of this type needs to be responsibly disposed of.
Unsophisticated disposal of WEEE takes up scarce landfill space and ignores
the reuse and recycling opportunities."
In Waste Bytes! Diverting Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment in
Ontario (available at
CIELAP makes the following key recommendations to the Ontario government and
- Ontario should develop ambitious collection, reuse and recycling
targets for electronic waste that aim to achieve significantly greater
diversion than a business-as-usual scenario.
- Ontario's waste electronics diversion Program should prioritize
diversion activities: (a) to reduce waste generation in the first place;
(b) to repair equipment so that it can be reused; (c) to reuse material
components; and (d) to recycle the materials. The Program should
maximize diversion at each level.
- The Ontario government should bring in regulatory requirements and
work with Canadian stewards to reduce the toxicity of electronic
products. The government should also encourage producers to accept
greater responsibility for the design, manufacture and sale of these
products, including take-back programs.
Maureen Carter-Whitney, CIELAP's Research Director
and report co-author, states that "It is encouraging that industry players
will soon have to demonstrate greater responsibly for the waste generated
through production but also begin to undertake stewardship for the
appropriate disposal of the products. We trust that oversight of the OES
program will ensure its potential is realized."