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The Yukon government has proposed a new recycling regulation that includes eco fees on tires and electronics.

The rollout of a similar system in Ontario several years ago, for  household hazardous waste, was fumbled and created an embarrassing backlash. Since then, Ontario has been “allergic” to the concept of point-of-sale eco fees, no matter how powerful the evidence that they make economic and environmental sense. But eco fees on tires and on certain electronic products were already in place, and continue to be collected today.

People in the Yukon are now being consulted on a government proposal to introduce just such eco fees, in order to fund sustainable recycling systems for tires and electronics. The proposed fees are:

Tires

  • Rim size 19.5″ or less (e.g., cars, light trucks, ATVs, small RVs) … $7
  • Greater than 19.5″ up to 24.5″ (e.g., some medium and commercial trucks, buses, larger RVs) … $15
  • Larger than 24.5″ (e.g., some medium and commercial trucks, industrial and mining equipment) … $60

(Ontario generally charges less for on road tires, but more for off-road tires. Ontario charges up to $1311.24 for the largest off-road, solid or resilient tires.)

Electronics:

  • Desktop computer … $10
  • Portable computers … $3
  • Computer peripherals (e.g., mice, keyboards) … $1
  • Printers/Fax machines/Copiers … $8
  • Display monitors: 29″ or more … $30
  • Display monitors: Less than 29″ … $10
  • Home audio/video systems (e.g., stereo, DVD player) … $5
  • Personal audio/video (e.g., MP3 player) … $1
  • Phones (cellular and non-cellular) … $1
  • Kitchen countertop appliances (except microwaves) … $1
  • Microwaves: 1 cubic foot or more … $10
  • Microwaves: Less than 1 cubic foot … $7
  • Time and weight measurement devices (e.g., clocks, bathroom scales) … $1
  • Garment and personal care (e.g., irons, hair dryers) … $1
  • Air purifiers, fans … $1
  • Vacuums: Large (floor) … $3
  • Vacuums: Small (handheld) … $1
  • Designated Very Small Items (e.g., electric air freshener) … 50¢

(Ontario collects eco fees on fewer electronics, which means that more types of electronics go into landfill. Compare Ontario electronic waste fees here.)

Some industry groups are pushing for standardization of waste diversion programs across the country, instead of the current system where each municipality, province, and/or territory sets its own rules, waste classes and fees. Among other things, large fee differences create risks of abuse. How far would someone drive with a truckload of large off-road tires, in order to save a few thousand dollars on disposal costs?

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