Ontario's new EEE (Electronics) Regulations Start Jan 1 2021
Ontario is launching the new Electronics and Electrical Equipment (EEE) regulations starting Jan 1, 2021. This initiative is administered by RPRA and mandates an individual producer responsibility for recycling of electronics. What this means is that the producers/manufacturers of electronics have to pay to recycle end of life equipment. For 2021, this is based on their 2018 sales data by weight. So, for example, if Samsung sold 500,000 kg of ITT/AV (information technology, telecommunications, and audio visual equipment such as televisions, tablets, computers etc.), their 2021 obligation is to recycle/collect 55% of that, for a total 2021 recycling obligation of 275,000 kgs of electronics (doesn't have to be Samsung, it can be ANY brand of ITT/AV collected). Because Samsung might not have their own recycling facilities and hauling trucks, they contract it out to a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). There are 11 PROS registered to collect on behalf of producers and most major manufacturers and retailers will be contracting out their obligations to a PRO.
What does this mean for the end consumer?
Unlike in previous years (and currently in other provinces) where we saw standardized fees, there is nothing in the regulation regarding fees. It is up to the individual producer if they want to absorb the cost of recycling, or pass it down to the customer. The issue is, because there is no set fee, and the costs for recycling vary by producer, the fees could be different across brands for the same category of products. For example, Samsung might charge $20 fee on tvs greater than 46", but LG might charge $15 and Sony could charge $0 for that same category if they decide to absorb the cost. This is cause for a lot of confusion for customers and for retailers. There will be many people confused as to why the fees vary for the same type of product and retailers now have to manage a huge assortment of fees by brands and categories, and explaining it to a customer at point of sale would be a huge headache. If a producer decides to absorb the cost of the recycling obligation, they *might* increase their MSRP to compensate. The regulations are very specific in saying that producers CANNOT charge more than the actual cost of recycling the product if showing a visible fee, but if a producer has internalized those costs, there is no way to know how much the actual cost of the recycling is vs. what they're adding on top for additional profit.
All this to say, that the new regulations, although good in that it puts the responsibility on the producers, could lead to an increase in price for the end consumer either through a confusing array of fees for similar items, or an increase in price through hidden cost increases which could yield even higher margins for producers.
I would suggest everyone in Ontario to reach out to their retailers and manufacturers to talk about this. Let them know you do not want to have the confusion of varying fees, and you do not want to pay more money when many producers have healthy margins to absorb these costs.
This is just an FYI and a high level overview of what could happen with these new regulations.
*The brands mentioned here are just an example and I really don't know what their obligations are or what and if any brand would be charging a fee.