Proposed regulations under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016(RRCEA) for recycling of electrical/electronic equipment (e.g. televisions, laptops, cellphones, light bulbs, appliances, etc.) and batteries have been posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO).
The regulations would implement the scheme of the RRCEA for producers of specified electrical / electronic equipment and batteries by making them responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of their products.
This regulatory regime would replace the existing industry funded waste diversion programs for waste electronics and batteries that were established under the now repealed the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.
The proposed regulations create four new legal obligations for producers of electrical / electronic equipment (“EEE”) and batteries:
1. Collection Requirements
The end-of-life collection requirement would apply to all battery producers and EEE producers with the exception of large and small equipment producers and those whose production, import or sales fall below a minimum threshold.
The collection method itself is to be chosen by responsible producers. The draft regulations would allow, for example, collection depots, collection events, curbside collection, and mail-back programs. The draft regulations do, however, impose service standards like minimum hours of operation for collection depots or minimum frequency for curbside collection.
2. Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Targets
The draft regulations would impose an obligation on producers to recover a target volume (by weight) of their product. The draft regulations are designed to incentivize producers to reuse and recycle their products by mandating that recovered products that they send to landfill, incinerate, or stockpile do not count towards the recovery target.
The proposed regulations also incentivize producers to use recycled material in their manufacturing, to make consumer repair possible, and to offer extended warranties by reducing the recovery target (to a maximum of 50%) in relation to their adoption of these initiatives.
3. Consumer Education
Producers would have to publish and promote their collection services, including locations of collection depots or details of collection events, curbside collection or mail-back program. And if they have reduced their recovery target by adopting a consumer repair initiative they must provide consumers with the details of how the information, parts and tools required can be acquired.
If the producer chooses to impose a separate charge on consumers to meet the new resource recovery obligations, they must identify who is responsible for the charge, and how it will be used to collect, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover their product.
If a separate charge is imposed, an independent audit would have to be conducted annually showing how the separate charge has been used to collect, reuse, recycle and recover the product, and to verify that the charge corresponds to the cost.
4. Registration and Compliance
The RRCEA established a new government agency, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) as the agency responsible for the oversight, compliance and enforcement.
The proposed regulations require producers and other involved in the compliance with the EEE and battery regime (e.g. haulers, processors and refurbishers) to register with and submit compliance reports to the RPRA. The proposed regulations also require producers to have an independent audit conducted annually to verify that they are meeting the recovery requirements.
The draft regulations include a phased-in approach to imposing the new obligations. The record keeping, auditing, reporting, and consumer education requirements would take effect as soon as the regulation is promulgated (which the notice indicates could be as early as summer 2019). The registration requirements would take effect as early as January 1, 2020, and the collection obligations would take effect on July 1, 2020.
Full texts of the proposed regulations can be accessed here: Draft Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulation and Draft Battery Regulation.
Public comments on the proposed regulations are being received until June 23, 2019.