Dear Ms. Friesen: In…

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Dear Ms. Friesen:
In response to the Ministry’s release of the draft Batteries and WEE regulations under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act of 2016, Call2Recycle Canada is submitting our feedback for your review and consideration. We have noted items requiring further clarification as well as policy items we wish to question, and we offer guiding comparators and recommendations as we see appropriate, to assist with the revision process.

Our comments are based on 22 years of extensive consumer battery recycling experience across North America on behalf of more than 300 companies, including battery, power tool, computer and other consumer goods manufacturers and retailers. Our feedback is consistent with policy recommendations submitted from Call2Recycle to the Policy Branch on March 4, 2019 and to Minister’s office on March 12, 2019, as part of the Ministry’s consultation process.

Call2Recycle supports the Ministry objectives of increasing waste diversion, recovering resources, increasing sustainability and improving environmental outcomes. Like you, we are committed to ensuring that all used consumer batteries in Ontario are collected and managed at their end-of-life in a safe and environmentally sound manner. We also support the benefits of an extended producer responsibility model and the associated circular economy.

The purpose of our recommendations below is to create a world class system that increases battery collection and recycling in a cost-effective manner. Complex systems are inherently challenging and expensive. Other provinces in Canada have been able to find reasonable accommodations that have been successful. We strongly urge the MOECP to consider one of the four provinces that have already successfully implemented battery recycling programs, instead of creating a new one that is overly complex and expensive.

Based on the feedback and uncertainty expressed by our stewards, we are concerned the Ontario draft regulations will lead to confusion for the consumer and significant expense for producers to manage and administer. We have already received numerous questions on how this draft regulation will work and why Ontario is so different from the other provinces.

As such, our first recommendation is that the regulations should be battery-centric and aligned with the four other provinces already administering battery regulations. Please see the attached summary of other provincial regulations.

Our second key concern is that the regulation appears to mirror that of the Tire industry (weight vs. units) and outlines similar reporting and other requirements with the Authority. This is noted because industry data on sales and reporting around batteries and products containing batteries is not the same as tires. The tire program is very complex but, with fewer SKUs, it is much easier for retailers to manage as compared to the proposed battery regulation. Another important factor for consideration is that the world-wide standard measurement for battery collection and reporting is based on weight. Nowhere else in the world is any other measurement used but weight and weight is the only proven and effective way to accurately and efficiently measure battery collections. Again, our recommendation is that the regulation should be battery-centric and aligned with the four other regulated provinces, whose tried and tested programs meet the respective provinces’ environmental objectives and reflect the unique nature of battery sales, use and end-of-life management.

While our feedback focused on batteries, we suggest that expanding the electronics category to include power tools, small appliances and other devices currently included in existing battery regulations, is not recommended at this time. Additional scope increases the complexity in managing a complicated transition, as well as increasing consumer confusion and costs. We feel that this complexity is unnecessary and will not increase battery collection and recycling rates. This is also inconsistent with other jurisdictions and ignores the life cycle of the products in question. For example, a power tool is likely to last many years, but the battery may only last a few years, and this is the item that needs to be recycled for safety, environmental and weight reasons. There are also no targets for diversion for these products, which means a marketplace will not develop and collections will be negligible—at this point the environmental benefit becomes questionable.

Our stewardship/PRO experience would suggest that power tools, medical devices, drones, and small appliances should be excluded from the electronics category and only their associated
batteries be considered for inclusion as part of the battery regulation, consistent with other products that contain batteries, such as toys.

Our detailed Draft Regulation feedback is attached and is mapped to the proposed regulation’s content for your reference and review.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide you with our expertise and feedback on the draft regulations.