By now, if you’re Canadian, you’ve heard about Manitoba’s new e-waste recycling fees, which went into effect August 1st. Public reactions to the new tax, according to news outlets like CBC, are mixed. Many don’t like the new tax while others think it’ll be good for the environment. Whatever your views, it’s likely that this latest e-waste tax is going to stay.
Canada already has a lot of e-waste laws, regulations, and taxes. They vary by city and province, but are nearly universal now. Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan already have e-waste programs (usually funded through a tax like Manitoba’s). Costs range from $5 to $15 for major electronics (computers, televisions, printers) and around $3 or less for most gadgets.
At the federal level, the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has protocols in place that apply to all government offices in the country. These require publicly-owned electronics (computers, devices, etc) to be disposed of without going to the landfill. They emphasize re-sale and re-distribution, but also include recycling provisions for those items that can’t be returned to the market for other uses.
The CFS (Computers for Schools) program refurbishes retired computers for use in the school system while the CADD (Crown Assets Distribution Directorate) puts working equipment up for sale to the general public. A gratuitous (free) transfer program through CADD also allows that equipment to be donated to other government organizations or to recognized charitable/non-profit organizations.
If all this fails, the PWGSC has two programs for recycling e-waste through both provincial programs and an individual standing offer for items not meeting provincial requirements.
Here are links to various e-waste recycling programs and more information about them, by province:
B.C.: Return-it Electronics (http://www.encorp.ca/electronics/)
AB: Alberta Recycling (http://www.albertarecycling.ca/)
SK: Saskatchewan Waste Electronic Equipment Program (SWEEP) (http://www.sweepit.ca/)
ON: Do What You Can – Electronics (http://www.recycleyourelectronics.ca/electronics/)
NS: Atlantic Canada Electronics Stewardship (ACES) (http://www.acestewardship.ca/)
PEI: ACES PEI Program (http://www.acestewardship.ca/pei/)
MB: Green Manitoba (http://greenmanitoba.ca/e-waste-roundup-program/ )