If you recently purchased winter tires in Ontario you may have noticed that the government “eco-fees” charged on the purchase of new tires was eliminated as of October 1, 2018.
The fee, which was approximately $3.30 per tire for passenger and light trucks was levied by the government to support the Ontario Tire Stewardship organization (OTS). OTS oversaw Ontario’s Used Tires Program, established in accordance with the Waste Diversion Act, 2002. This program sought to increase recycling and to divert used tires from landfills.
It has been reported that consumers paid approximately $70 million annually in fees, and that the program resulted in the clean-up of more than 1.5 million stockpiled tires and the recycling of more than 100 million tires since the program started in 2009 (See OTS Website).
The elimination of the eco-fee is as a result of the fact that the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, was repealed and replaced with the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and Ontario Regulation 225/18. This change put in place a new regime that makes individual tire producers responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of tires.
The O. Reg 225/18 requires producers (such as tire brand holders and vehicle manufacturers resident in Ontario) to:
- Meet resource recovery standards for the collection and management of tires, including a minimum amount of tires that must be collected based on sales and a minimum recovery rate of materials from the collected tires.
- Provide a free tire collection network that provides a minimum number of collection sites across Ontario.
- Educate consumers to increase public awareness and promote public participation in the resource recovery of tires.
A new government agency, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) is responsible for the oversight, compliance and enforcement of the new tires regulation.
Unfortunately for consumers, the elimination of the government eco-fee does not mean that the extra charge has gone away. Many dealers have simply kept it as a charge over and above the advertised price to assist them with the costs of compliance with the new regime.
The RPRA has said that if service shops and tire dealers choose to charge a fee for tire recovery that is not included in the advertised price, then they must clearly state who is responsible for imposing the charge, and how the charge will be used.
For example, if the charge is identified online as part of the purchasing process, the statement must be communicated to the consumer on the same part of the web page on which the charge appears.
The RPRA has provide an example of an acceptable statement in relation to a separate resource recovery charge is:
[name of producer] is responsible for imposing this charge. It is being used to cover the cost of collecting and recycling the tires you are buying today when those tires reach their end of life and are returned by you.
A quick perusal of various on-line tire retailers indicates that while they are still showing an “environmental fee” they are not yet including the required statements.