Recycling FAQs & Fees

1How much does the service cost?
There is no charge to you for dropping off items at an OES-approved collection site or event. The environmental handling fee (“EHF”) you likely paid on purchasing new electronics covers the cost of refurbishing or recycling them.
2What if I can't find a drop-off location close to me, or I don't have a car to get them there?
Check this website often. Special electronics collection events are posted regularly. The site is also updated as soon as new sites are approved. Some commercial providers may offer pick up depending on the volume of electronics you have, or they may charge a nominal pickup fee. If you can’t find a site or event near you for free drop off, email our customer service department at: customerservice@ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca
3My garbage and blue box items are picked up weekly - why not electronics?
Due to the nature of the materials, electronics need special handling and safe transport. Ultimately, curbside pick-up services are the responsibility of municipalities. There are, however, some municipalities that offer curbside pick-up of electronic items. Contact your municipality’s web site or service telephone line for more information on their e-waste services.
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.
5What do I do with items not included with this program?
Some municipalities may collect electronic products that are not designated in this program. Please contact your municipality to confirm accepted materials and recycling procedures. There are also some commercial and reuse and refurbishment organizations that accept items outside of our current scope.
6What happens to the items once I drop them off?
Once collected, items are shipped to a facility where they are inspected and weighed. Then they are sent to an approved processor for manual dismantling and/or mechanical processing. Hazardous materials are sent for further processing, while materials available for down cycling are turned into commodities such as steel, aluminum, copper, glass and plastic for use in new products. Recycled plastics, for example, are used to produce irrigation piping and outdoor furniture, and recycled glass is made into new monitors or TVs. Your assurance? From the time that your unwanted electronics are dropped off, they are managed according to high environmental standards at every stage of the process. For that reason, approved collection sites or events are listed on this web site and designated accordingly.
7Say I have items in reasonable working order. Are there locations listed where I can drop off for reuse or refurbish?
Yes, there are OES-approved reuse and refurbish organizations. The full list can be found here.
8What about security of my private information that may be left on my computer or cell phone?
If you drop off items for recycling through our program, they will not be reused. We recommend that you remove and wipe clean all data from computers and laptops, SIM cards and other storage devices in cell phones, digital cameras or digital printers prior to drop off. If you are unsure how to do this, check your owner's manual or contact your manufacturer on how to. While the approved network of service providers is obligated to ensure secure destruction of materials in the processing stage, we cannot accept liability for any data that remains on electronic equipment when you drop off. It is your obligation to protect your own personal information.
9I paid a fee when I bought a new piece of electronics, is this a tax? Why is HST charged?
No. You paid an environmental handling fee (EHF) that goes toward safe and responsible recovery and disposal of end-of-life electronics, much like you paid when replacing old tires or oil for your car. Monies collected do not go to government. Any questions about taxation should be directed to the Ontario Ministry of Finance.
10Am I charged a fee when I buy used or refurbished electronics?
No. The Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) is only charged on new electronics.
11Can a retailer charge more than the fee for that item?
No. Fees charged at the time of purchase should not exceed the EHF for that item.
12Where can I find a list of fees?
The current list of fees in effect can be found here.
13How is the Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) set for each accepted product category?
Environmental handling fees on electronic product categories reflect the actual total program cost to manage that particular category of out-of-use electronic items and do not relate to the cost to purchase. Size, weight and the amount of e-waste diverted from landfill for recycling are just some of the variables that impact the EHF. For example, a smartphone is less expensive to recycle than an office photocopier. Some items contain more or fewer recyclable components; like cathode ray tube technology in old TVs.
14Where does the money from the Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) go? How is it used?
Fees cover program costs to collect, transport, consolidate and process waste electronics as well as financial incentives for service providers; about 90%. In addition, 10% of program funding is used for public education and awareness, and program management and execution.
15If the item purchased is returned, will the Environmetal Handling Fee (EHF) be reimbursed?
The handling of fees at the point of sale is determined by retailers. A retailer should refund any fee that was applied at the point of purchase if that product is returned.
16What if I exchange an item - say a laptop for a cell phone - what fee is applied?
The retailer should refund any fee that was applied at the point of purchase for a particular item, and charge the appropriate EHF for the item being purchased.
17I paid a fee on a new electronic item I purchased and I think I may have been overcharged. What do I do?
If you think you have been overcharged, go back to the retailer where you made the purchase and request a refund. If there is no resolution, staff at the Ministry of Consumer Services’ consumer-protection hotline (416-326-8800 or toll-free at 1-800-889-9768, TTY: 416-229-6086 or 1-877-666-6545) are also available to help consumers who think they may have been charged an inappropriate fee.
18How is the program being funded?
The manufacturers (called “brand owners”) and importers of designated electronic equipment pay OES fees to cover the costs of the electronic waste program. These companies (known as “Stewards”) are required to register, report and pay fees to OES based on their share of the annual cost to operate the program.
19Is this program effective?
64% of Ontarians are aware of RecycleYourElectronics.ca, the public name of Ontario`s e-waste program operated by Ontario Electronic Stewardship. Thanks to you, since beginning operations on April 1, 2009, the program has diverted more than 240,000 tonnes of electronic waste from landfill. In addition, the program encourages economic and job growth in the waste and recycling industries. 81% of Ontarians are concerned about improper disposal of their out-of-use electronics, and welcome a safe, responsible and regulated solution for dealing with those.
20I have more questions, who can I contact?
We welcome your questions and comments. Email us at: customerservice@ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca or call 1-888-646-1820, ext. 11.