Regulations for Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and Batteries under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016

ERO number
019-0048
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
May 9, 2019 - June 23, 2019 (45 days) Open

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
June 23, 2019

Proposal summary

We are proposing regulations that will make producers of electronics and batteries environmentally accountable and financially responsible for the waste generated from products they supply into Ontario. The regulations will set requirements for collection, management and consumer education, as well as incenting waste reduction activities.

Proposal details

Description of regulation

Ontario is continuing its shift to a full producer responsibility framework for reduction, reuse and recycling of resources by proposing two 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.

Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) includes products such as televisions, laptops, printers, mobile phones, etc.

The proposed regulations would require:

  • producers to establish free collection networks for consumers
  • producers to achieve resource recovery (i.e. reduction, reuse and recycling) targets
  • producers to provide promotion and education materials to increase consumer awareness
  • producers and service providers to register, report and keep records and meet other requirements

The regulations would also encourage producers to reduce waste associated with the regulated products they supply into the Ontario market.

Under a producer responsibility framework for recycling, costs are shifted off of the taxpayer and onto producers who have more control over the types of products put into the marketplace, how the products are managed at end-of-life, and can find new and innovative ways to reduce costs and improve the environmental management of electrical and electronic equipment and batteries.

Key principles of the proposed regulation

The proposed regulations are based on the following principles:

Improving environmental outcomes by:

  • ensuring EEE and batteries are collected and managed at end-of-life in a safe and environmentally sound manner to keep harmful substances out of the environment
  • increasing waste diversion, recovering resources from products that are currently being lost to landfills, and reducing use of virgin raw materials.

Ensuring economic growth by:

  • creating jobs, encouraging investment and growing Ontario’s infrastructure through activities related to extended product life, repair, reuse, refurbishment and recycling
  • encouraging demand and sufficient supply to support the reuse and refurbishment markets.

Ensuring consistency, and reducing costs and burden while promoting innovation:

  • encouraging a sustainable system for industry and consumers by lowering costs, promoting consistency and ensuring ease of access
  • supporting the principle of reducing taxpayer burden by shifting responsibilities and costs related to the collection and management of EEE and batteries to producers, and utilizing non-government oversight and compliance
  • supporting competition, innovation and better product design.

The Ministry is seeking your feedback on the content of the proposed regulations, as well as specific input on questions identified in the Additional Input section at the end of this posting.

Implementation and governance

The regulation proposal includes a phased-in approach for when specific obligations would take effect:

  • reporting, record keeping and auditing requirements, as well as promotion and education in relation to resource recovery charges would take effect immediately (when the regulation is filed), which could be as early as Summer 2019
  • registration requirements would take effect as early as January 1, 2020
  • collection, management and remaining promotion and education obligations would take effect on July 1, 2020.

The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (the Authority) would be responsible for:

  • oversight of the proposed scheme, including the compliance and enforcement activities related to the regulation
  • collecting data through its online Registry to oversee and assess performance.

Proposed regulation details

The sections below provide a summary of each regulatory element. For full details, read the draft EEE Regulation and Battery Regulation.

Designating materials

The regulation proposal sets out, in two regulations, the designation of two classes of materials under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016(RRCEA) – electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and batteries. Further, each class of material includes defined categories which are used to specify the responsibilities that producers of such materials in the category will be required to undertake.

The proposal sets out four defined categories within the EEE class:

  1. Information technology, telecommunications and audio visual equipment
  2. Lighting, including lighting equipment, fixtures and bulbs
  3. Large equipment, including appliances, power tools and fitness equipment, with at least one external dimension measuring more than 50 centimeters
  4. Small equipment, including appliances, power tools, monitoring and control equipment, which has no external dimension that measures more than 50 centimeters.

The proposal sets out three defined categories within the battery class:

  1. Small single use batteries weighing 5 kilograms or less
  2. Small rechargeable batteries weighing 5 kilograms or less
  3. Large batteries weighing more than 5 kilograms.

It is proposed that producers of all categories of batteries and certain categories of EEE (i.e. information technology, telecommunications and audio visual equipment, and lighting) will be subject to all of the responsibilities relating to collection, management, promotion and education, registration, reporting and auditing.

The producers of the remaining categories of EEE (i.e. large and small equipment) will be subject to a limited range of responsibilities (i.e. registration, reporting, promotion and education for resource recovery charges).

Defining responsible producers

The proposed regulations establish a methodology for determining the producer who will be given responsibilities under the regulation. The methodology imposes responsibility primarily on brandholders who are resident in Canada whose EEE and batteries are marketed and supplied to Ontario consumers, followed by importers and others who market EEE and batteries who are resident in Ontario, and then others who are located out-of-province but who market and supply EEE and batteries to Ontario consumers through the internet.

The EEE regulation proposes a hierarchy that is intended to regulate producers of EEE that is marketed to consumers in Ontario. The batteries regulation proposes two hierarchies – one that is intended to regulate producers of products marketed to consumers in Ontario with which new batteries are provided, and the other is intended to regulate producers of new batteries marketed to consumers in Ontario separately from products.

The regulations propose to exempt producers from collection and management responsibilities if their recovery requirement is below a certain threshold. These producers would still be required to register, report and keep records.

Collection requirements

The proposed regulations include requirements for producers to establish a collection system which provides consumers access to collection sites or services for their EEE and batteries. There is no collection target being proposed. Accessibility requirements will ensure there is a broad network of collection options available for consumers throughout the province who wish to recycle EEE and batteries.

It is proposed that the collection requirements will apply to producers of all categories of batteries and certain categories of EEE (i.e. information technology, telecommunications and audio visual equipment, and lighting). The producers of the remaining categories of EEE (i.e. large and small equipment), and producers who fall below the minimum threshold, will not be subject to the collection requirements.

The accessibility requirements in the proposed regulation have been structured to ensure there are collection locations throughout the province, while also providing producers with flexibility on how they establish their collection systems.

  • The obligation to establish a collection system will vary based on the size of the producer, the amount of material the producer supplied into Ontario over a specified period of time, and the manner in which the material was supplied
  • The proposed regulation will allow for a variety of options that producers can use to satisfy their collection system requirements (i.e. permanent collection locations, collection events, curbside collection, mail-back)
  • If a producer chooses to establish and operate a curbside collection system in a municipality that meets specified criteria, the producer may reduce the number of collection sites required within that municipality by the percentage of residences in the municipality that the curbside system services

The proposed regulations will include service standards for the various collection options (i.e., hours of operation, types and amounts of materials to be collected, minimum frequency for curbside collection service), in order to ensure a level playing field in the service provided.

The proposed regulation will require certain producers to manage materials collected at certain sites (i.e. Crown sites, indigenous communities and municipalities with less than 1,000 people) once those locations have collected a specified amount of EEE or batteries.

Management requirements

It is proposed that the management requirements will apply to producers of all categories of batteries and certain categories of EEE (i.e. information technology, telecommunications and audio visual equipment, and lighting). The producers of the remaining categories of EEE (i.e. large and small equipment), and producers who fall below the minimum threshold, will not be subject to the management requirements.

The proposed regulations include recovery requirements (by weight) that will increase in the first 3.5 years the regulation is in force, which would be based on a rolling three-year average weight of the category of EEE or batteries that a producer supplied into Ontario.

A producer may satisfy their recovery requirement by adding the weight of EEE or batteries that are reused, refurbished, or processed to make new products, packaging or things. Only EEE and batteries processed by registered processors or refurbishers that meet defined standards, and are sent to an end market or for reuse prior to the end of the resource recovery year would count toward meeting a producer’s recovery requirement.

The regulation prohibits a producer from satisfying the recovery requirement by adding any of the weight of any EEE or batteries (or processed materials from EEE or batteries) that is land disposed, incinerated, used as a fuel or a fuel supplement, stored or stockpiled. For example, if an EEE recycler sends plastic waste to a landfill or an incinerator, the weight of the plastic cannot be used by a producer to meet the recovery requirement. Through the Environment Plan, we are also investigating opportunities to recover resources from waste, along with reduction, reuse and recycling to ensure that valuable resources in waste do not end up in landfills. 

Waste reduction initiatives

The proposed regulations include waste reduction initiatives for recycled content, consumer access to repair and extended warranties as incentives that would allow the producer to reduce their supply data for a relevant year in proportion to the initiatives undertaken. The regulations propose that the overall reduction cannot exceed 50%.

Promotion and education

The proposed regulations require specified producers to educate consumers about the locations of the producer’s collection system and a description of the producer’s resource recovery activities.

The regulations propose, that if a seller identifies a separate charge in connection with the sale of EEE or batteries, the seller is required to communicate who imposed the charge, and how the separate charge would be used by the seller to collect, reuse, recycle and recover EEE or batteries. This requirement applies to producers of all four categories of EEE and all three categories of batteries.

Registration, record keeping, reporting and auditing

The proposed regulations require producers, producer responsibility organizations and certain service providers (haulers, processors and refurbishers) to:

  • register with the Authority. The proposed regulation sets out the information to be registered and the timelines for submitting information
  • keep records that relate to accepting, storing, handling, transferring, processing and disposing of EEE and batteries in Ontario
  • submit reports through the Authority’s Registry. The proposed regulation sets out each party’s reporting obligations, including contents of the reports and reporting frequency.

In order to reduce burden, the regulations propose that operators of collection sites need not register and report, but operators will be required to keep records relating to EEE and batteries at their site.

The proposed regulations require producers to have an independent audit conducted annually by a certified accountant to verify the producer is meeting its management requirements.

In order to protect consumers from potentially misleading or inaccurate information, sellers who impose a separate charge in connection to the sale of EEE or batteries must have an independent audit conducted annually by a qualified certified accountant on how the separate charge has been used to collect, reuse, recycle and recover EEE or batteries, and to verify that the separate charge accurately reflects the costs incurred for these purposes.

Additional input

In addition to any comments you may provide on the proposed regulation, we are also seeking your input on the following:

  • The EEE regulation provides a definition for “large-scaled fixed installations” which is intended to exclude large-scale electrical and electronic equipment such as elevators, escalators and streetlights. Is this definition appropriate?
  • Does the proposed methodology for each of the producer hierarchies regulate the people in the supply chain who are most responsible for putting the product on the market in Ontario?
  • Our intention in exempting producers with recovery requirements below a certain threshold from collection and management responsibilities is to reduce burden on small businesses while also limiting the overall exemptions for each category to no more than 1-3 per cent of the total weight of material required to be managed in Ontario. Are the proposed thresholds for each category of EEE and batteries appropriate?
  • We are considering what level of auditing is required for a producer’s supply data. The regulations currently propose an audit once every three years for the three-year period. We have also considered a requirement for producers to only audit the first year’s data within the same three-year period. While the second option would result in lower auditing requirements for producers, it would require the Authority to undertake additional inspections for the other two years of supply data. What do you consider to be appropriate audit requirements for supply data and why?
  • The regulations propose a minimum recycling efficiency rate (RER) that processors would have to achieve in order for their processed tonnage to count toward a producer’s recovery requirement. Including an RER in the regulation is intended to provide a level playing field for processors and reduce scavenging or hoarding of EEE and batteries. Do you think the proposed approach for an RER, and the formula to calculate it, are appropriate and/or necessary? If an RER requirement is included in the regulation, how should it be applied to processors who are new market entrants or those unable to achieve the RER in a given year?
  • For the waste reduction initiative related to extended warranties, what elements should be included in the requirements for the warranty coverage? Should the extended warranty be required to provide the same coverage as the original manufacturer’s warranty?
  • For the waste reduction initiative related to consumer access to repair, should the regulation include additional requirements for how the repair services, parts and tools are made available to consumers and how the availability is communicated to consumers?
  • Are there any other areas of the regulation that would benefit from the support of guidelines?
    • To support the implementation of this scheme, the Authority will develop guidelines for auditing (for both supply data and management of EEE and batteries), processor and refurbisher standards, and access and privacy of confidential information, that will be incorporated by reference into the regulations, and which may change from time to time.
    • The audit guideline is intended to outline the required audit procedures related to the producer’s supply data as well as the resource recovery activities. This guideline could also provide information related to allowable sources of supply data and/or processes that could be used to calculate supply.
    • The processor and refurbisher guideline is intended to outline the required standards that must be met by processors and refurbishers in order for the tonnage processed by those companies to count toward a producers recovery requirement. We are considering using an existing standard, such as the R2 standard for EEE, and are determining if any additional requirements need to be added so that materials are managed in an environmentally sound manner. This guideline could also provide procedures related to the recycling efficiency rate (if included in the regulation).

Purpose of regulation

We are proposing regulations under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA) to make producers of specified electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and batteries environmentally accountable and financially responsible for the waste generated from products the producer supplies into Ontario.

The proposed regulations are expected to reduce the amount of resources from EEE and batteries that are lost to disposal, among other things.

We are committed to making producers responsible for the waste generated from their products and packaging as part of a broader approach to address litter and reduce waste in Ontario.

Other public consultation opportunities

The Ministry will hold consultation sessions, in the form of two webinar sessions, to seek stakeholder feedback and input on the proposed regulation.

The Ministry previously held a series of webinars and in-person consultations with a range of stakeholders (e.g. representatives of EEE and battery producers, municipalities, retailers, industry associations, environmental organizations, waste management service providers, the Authority and others) on January 9, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23 and 24, 2019 to seek stakeholder feedback and input on the initial policy consideration for the EEE and battery regulation.

Additionally, the Ministry has had ongoing engagement with the Authority and other affected stakeholders throughout the process of developing the policy concepts and the draft regulation.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Resource Recovery Policy Branch
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
8th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

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