1Who or what is recycleyourelectronics.ca?
Recycleyourelectronics.ca is the public provincial program responsible for diverting electronic waste in Ontario, operated by Ontario Electronic Stewardship ("OES"). It is also a searchable website that enables postal code, community or item lookup for where and how to reuse or recycle unwanted or out-of-date electronics in a safe and convenient manner.
2Why manage end-of-life technology?
Like tin cans, glass and newspaper, unwanted electronics should never end up in the garbage. Much of the plastic and metal in computers and TVs, for example, can be reclaimed and used to make everything from irrigation piping to coins. As well, many older electronics contain substances of concern—like lead on CRT glass—that, if not handled properly, could have environmental impacts and cause health and safety issues. It is estimated that 2/3 of waste electronics in Ontario comes from non-residential sources, making diversion by business critical to reducing the overall amount of e-waste sent to landfill.
3Where are the OES approved locations?
There are hundreds of approved permanent and event-based collectors across the province to choose from—municipal, not-for-profit, retail and other commercial service providers—and designated on the web site search as “OES Service Provider” (those sites that contract directly with OES) or “Affiliate Provider” (those sites that contract directly with a commercial recycler). To find the drop-off location nearest you, use the lookup feature on this website.
4Does your service accept all electronic or electrical items?
No. We currently accept 44 items; but most of them are your common home / home office items. The full list of “what’s accepted” items can be found here. For those items not found on this list, contact your local municipality for proper handling and disposal.
5Why not accept all electronics?
Managing end-of-life electronics, with both substances of concern and valuable component parts, is a complex process. Unlike tin cans, newspaper and other recyclables, electronic waste management requires that we comply with strict human health and safety, and environmental guidelines and regulations. We must also ensure that our network of approved collection sites can adjust to the growing volumes, and types of electronics, before additional items can be accepted.
6How do we know our old electronics are managed properly when we drop them off at an OES-approved collection site or event?
From the time that electronic waste is accepted at an OES collection site to its dismantling and recycling at a processing facility, used electronics are managed according to a high standard of worker health and safety and compliance to environmental protection and regulations. The Recycler Qualification Office (RQO) was established by the industry-led end-of-life electronics stewardship programs to ensure that environmentally sound electronics reuse and recycling standards are established, met, maintained and continually improved upon. The RQO operates under Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), a national, non-profit entity, created by Canada’s electronics industry in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Canada’s industry-led and regulated electronics stewardship programs. The Recycler Qualification Program (RQP) is an eight-part publication that defines the Stewardship Programs' minimum requirements and approach to auditing and approving end-of-life electronics (EOLE) Recyclers to ensure that EOLE are handled in an environmentally sound and socially acceptable manner that protects the environment and safeguards worker health and safety. A list of approved processors, or recyclers, is listed on www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca.
7How do you manage deleting secure and confidential information?
We strongly recommend all businesses erase files and other data that may be stored in e-waste before dropping off. That said, our OES-approved processors are obliged by contract to employ a variety of electro-magnetic and other proprietary techniques to ensure that all data is destroyed in the reuse or recycling process. The full list of all OES-approved processors is posted on the corporate web site.
8What about the security of company information that may be left on equipment when it's dropped off?
Information management is a critical business function, especially for end-of-life technology. While OES will make every effort to ensure the privacy and security of personal information at our approved collection sites, we cannot accept liability for any data that remains on electronic equipment. As a business, you're likely doing everything you can to ensure identity protection and data security, including contracting the services of vendors that do this for you. If you don't, and as a recommendation, be sure to back up company data and wipe clean all data from computers and laptops, SIM cards and other storage devices in cell phones, digital printers and copiers or other digital devices.
9What happens with a non-approved collector?
First developed and introduced in 2004 by Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC), the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERP) has been the basis of standards for electronics recyclers in Canada, including this program in Ontario. ERP, operated out of the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO) as part of the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), works to demonstrate responsible, safe and environmentally sound recycling practices while staying current to address the processing developments of the recycling industry and the associated risks. If you are dealing with a service provider not in our network and not upholding these high standards, it’s possible that some of your electronics could end up in landfill. There is also the risk that 'scavengers' will collect the material for covert shipment to jurisdictions where regulatory controls are either less stringent or absent altogether.
10Do items collected by your network go offshore?
When you work with an OES-approved processor, much of the work in collecting, sorting and material recovery takes place right here in Ontario; with downstream processing located in Canada, the United States, and beyond. Hazardous material may not be exported to non-OECD or non-EU member countries or processed with the use of prison labour. It is the responsibility of the processor to be aware of and abide by all applicable regulatory legislation, RQP, and contractual obligations to OES. This rigour is intended to assist recyclers by ensuring electronic products are managed in an environmentally sound manner that safeguards public health and safety, worker health and safety, and the environment from the point of transportation, receipt, primary processing to final disposition. To validate the electronic recyclers’ ongoing performance, OES conducts various compliance actions, including not limited to audits, use of downstream processing, material origin and eligible material.
11What happens downstream with end-of-life components and materials?
OES works with approved service providers, including processors, to ensure safe and responsible diversion of unwanted electronics from Ontario's landfills. Ninety per cent of the material contained in electronic equipment can be recycled, including common metals such as copper, aluminum and steel, as well as glass and plastics. Some components require special care; for example, lead is sometimes used in soldering, there is mercury in switches and, cadmium is used in batteries. There are also precious metals like gold, platinum and indium which can carry significant environmental costs in primary extraction, and finite natural resources should be recycled.
12Can we arrange for regular on-site collection?
Please use the Contact Us form in the Office section of this web site, call us at 1-888-646-1820, ext. 11, or to contact one of our OES service providers listed by search.
13We want to hold an e-waste collection event for fundraising? Can we arrange that with OES?
Yes. And we can help. Contact us six to eight weeks in advance for help in getting started, and click here to find out more.
14Is there a pick up service?
You may already be dealing with an OES Service Provider. If so, discuss with them. There are also collectors in our network offering large volume pickup. You may also contact us or call 1-888-646-1820, ext. 11.
15Is there a cost for this service?
There is no charge for dropping off items at an OES-approved collection site or event. If you are already dealing with an OES service provider, discuss with them. The cost of managing the reuse and recycling of end-of-life electronics is covered by fees collected by OES from those who make and market these goods in Ontario.
16How is the program funded?
The program is funded by fees paid to OES from the manufacturers (brand owners) and importers of designated electronic equipment. These funds are used exclusively to pay for collection, transportation, warehousing and processing of electronic waste as well as research promotion and education initiatives to encourage greater electronic equipment reuse and recycling.
17Where can we find information on these fees?
18How often do fees change?
Effective May 1, 2013, the electronics program implemented a fee-setting methodology based on actual (vs forecast) prior year costs. We continually monitor the cost to operate the program and assess fees. We make any fee adjustments annually on May 1st after consulting with industry partners and revising our projections on the amount of fee revenue needed to cover the program costs to collect, transport, consolidate and process waste electronics, which varies depending on the demand put on the program (based on volumes collected and processed and service provider financial incentives).
19Who runs this program?
Private industry. OES was formed by leading retail, information technology and consumer electronics companies to implement the program with oversight by Waste Diversion Ontario according to the Waste Diversion Act 2002. OES is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors from across the supply chain. The Board is composed of volunteer voting directors and observers (non-voting). You may find the list of Board of Directors on www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca . OES is a not-for-profit, industry funded organization.
20How effective is this program?
Since beginning operations on April 1, 2009, at the end of March 2014, the program has diverted more than 260,000 tonnes (and growing) of electronic items from landfill. Together with consumers and businesses, we have helped keep Ontario beautiful, and supported a green economy.
21Would developing an e-waste plan or policy help our business?
In a 2011 survey, which included more than 400 businesses from across the province, found that two-thirds of these businesses do not have a plan for managing electronics at end-of-life (EOL). Recycling electronics at EOL is a necessary and sound business practice for organizations regardless of size or industry on many levels. It can help a business: save money by eliminating the need to store retired technologies; create a more environmentally conscious organization; protect intellectual assets, and: manage your brand reputation.
22Do you have more information on e-waste planning?
In summer 2011, OES held a webinar for business on “Managing End-of-Life Technology”, and published a business paper that is available for download on this web site. You may find these resources helpful.