Ontario launches new e-waste initiative

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Courtesy of GLOBE Foundation

The Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) has launched an ambitious program that over the next five years will divert 160,000 tonnes of waste electronics such as computers and televisions away from landfill and into reuse and recycling solutions.

The industry-developed and operated Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) program is setting up a network of collection sites where consumers and businesses can drop off unwanted electronics with assurance that they will be recycled according to established North American environmental standards.

Products captured under the program include desktop and laptop computers and peripherals such as mice, keyboards and disk drives; monitors; desktop printers; fax machines and televisions. Other electronics such as cell phones and cameras will be added in later phases of the program.

'This is a significant milestone as we strive towards a zero waste future,' said Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen. 'We are looking at waste in new ways and seeing the opportunities inherent in materials we once thought of as ’garbage’ including our old televisions and computers. I congratulate those involved in this program and encourage all Ontarians to do what they can for the environment,' he added.

'In this age of increasing electronic technology, too many of us-consumers and businesses-find ourselves at a loss when it comes to dealing with unwanted waste electronics. Our basements and spare offices are often full of old televisions and computers,' said Carol Hochu, OES executive director.

'Too often this means they end up in the garbage or possibly shipped to countries where health and environmental standards may receive less attention than here in Ontario. By setting up a network of certified collectors and processors, our waste electronics diversion program will make sure these end-of-life materials are managed properly.'

The OES WEEE program will share consumer branding under the Do What You Can banner with the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) program, which was launched in January. The aim of both industry-run programs is to divert more waste from disposal in Ontario landfill sites.

Consumers who want to find nearby collection locations for electronic waste can go to an interactive website, www.dowhatyoucan.ca, select 'electronics' and search for the nearest collection site by municipality, postal code or material type.

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