Regulations for Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Batteries under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act
Submitted June 23, 2019
Ontario is continuing its shift to a full producer responsibility framework by proposing new regulations that will require producers to manage electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and batteries at end-of-life in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.
In short, proposed regulations would require of producers:
- establish free collection networks for consumers
- achieve resource recovery (i.e., reduction, reuse and recycling) targets
- provide promotion and education materials to increase consumer awareness
- register, report, and keep records and meet other requirements
RCO Response Highlights
RCO policy positions are taken with a focus on environmental outcomes based on a hierarchy that prioritizes waste prevention, resource reutilization, and conservation.
In our response we combined comments for EEE and batteries into one submission, and focus on aspects that we consider deficient or require strengthening in order to achieve the provincial interest provisions of the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act.
Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Collection: Producer Requirements
Regulation should not exempt any producer regardless of their amounts sold into the marketplace for lamps as a category for EEE.
Collection: Producer Without a Retail Location
Proposed regulation should ensure producers that wish to employ EEE take-back collection that are able to reach respective performance targets and accessibility objectives are not mandated establish static collection sites.
Management of EEE
The regulation proposes to use weight-based performance targets for lighting from a three-year rolling average and a management percentage (MP) of 40 per cent for the year 2022, and 50 per cent MP for every subsequent calendar year.
RCO recommends regulation:
- include a separate target for the recovery and safe management of mercury for the category of EEE that includes applicable lighting products.
- increase management percentage to no less than 90 per cent by weight for lighting.
In 2015, RCO was commissioned to draft standardized reporting requirements of single-use batteries, which concluded that utilizing a recycling efficiency rate (RER) is the most effective and fair mechanism to measure recovery performance of different processing applications. Furthermore, in order to calculate RER, or yield output from any process, recovered materials would have to be tracked and measured in relation to the targeted inbound or feedstock battery materials.
Therefore, if RER is the preferred measurement to verify performance for batteries under this regulation, the MOECP should work with the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority and other stakeholders to develop fulsome auditing processes and protocols to ensure accuracy in battery materials recovery and, therefore, fair oversight.