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A client enjoyed another waste diversion victory last week, when Waste Diversion Ontario rejected a flawed battery recycling proposal by Call2Recycle.

A key problem with the Call2Recycle proposal was that its proposed Industry Stewardship Plan included both dry cell single use batteries (over which Waste Diversion Ontario has jurisdiction under the Waste Diversion Act) and rechargeable batteries (over which Waste Diversion Ontario does not have jurisdiction). We showed that the plan had the potential to confuse and interfere with the existing free market in rechargeable batteries, especially valuable lead acid batteries, which are already the most highly recycled product in North America.

According to WDO’s website, the proposal was rejected for the following reasons:

… the plan as proposed by Call2Recycle had the potential to cause significant impacts on the single-use battery post-collection marketplace. In addition, the Board decided that the Call2Recyle ISP, as a single product business model, might have difficulty transitioning to a new legislative framework. Another contributing factor to the Board’s decision was the deep division among stakeholders over whether slag, a by-product of processing single-use batteries, should be reported as a product of battery recycling. This issue is currently unresolved.

This means that single-use batteries will continue to be managed by Stewardship Ontario and its Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program (Orange Drop).

However, Stewardship Ontario is losing responsibility for recycling paint and coatings. At the same meeting, Waste Diversion Ontario did approve a new Industry Stewardship Plan for paint and coatings. Product Care Association (Product Care, which has renamed itself as Regeneration). The effective date of the Product Care ISP was determined by the WDO Board to be no earlier than June 2015.

Approval of the Regeneration proposal means that competition to recycle hazardous waste is heating up. If properly regulated, this could be good both for the environment and for stewards.

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