Mak­ing sense of new fee on elec­tron­ics

The Compass - - OPINION -

This hol­i­day sea­son, when pur­chas­ing new gad­gets or gizmos to put un­der the tree, New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans will likely no­tice a new fee on their re­ceipt.

This fee is not a gov­ern­ment tax. It funds the re­spon­si­ble re­cy­cling of old or un­wanted elec­tronic prod­ucts in our prov­ince. In re­cent weeks, there has been some mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion about the fee, who is charg­ing it and what ex­actly it cov­ers. Please let us help to shed some light on th­ese ques­tions.

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Han­dling Fee (EHF) is just one el­e­ment of a new pro­gram aimed at the re­spon­si­ble re­cy­cling of end-of-life elec­tron­ics. It also in­cludes free-of-charge drop-off for old and un­wanted elec­tronic prod­ucts as well as the pro­cesses of col­lec­tion, trans­porta­tion and re­cy­cling.

Elec­tronic Prod­ucts Re­cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion (EPRA), an in­dus­try-led not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that op­er­ates the pro­gram, is thrilled to serve a real need in New­found­land and Labrador to re­cy­cle elec­tron­ics re­spon­si­bly.

We’ve done the re­search, and the num­bers say it loud and clear: New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans want and need this ser­vice. Cur­rently, close to 70 per cent of res­i­dents have at least one elec­tronic de­vice in their house­hold that ei­ther doesn’t work or isn’t be­ing used. More than 80 per cent of res­i­dents be­lieve an elec­tron­ics re­cy­cling pro­gram is nec­es­sary, and a whop­ping 90 per cent say they’re likely to use the elec­tron­ics drop-off ser­vice.

Not sur­pris­ing for a group of peo­ple who are so ded­i­cated to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns: over 90 per cent of us be­lieve we are per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble for our im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Cur­rently in its fourth month of op­er­a­tion, EPRA’s pro­gram of­fers 18 drop-off cen­tres through­out New­found­land and Labrador, has plans to open six more in ear-

There’s no cost to drop off your un­wanted prod­ucts; how­ever, there is a fee paid at the time of pur­chas­ing new elec­tron­ics. The fee is cal­cu­lated based on the ac­tual costs to re­spon­si­bly man­age and re­cy­cle the items be­ing re­cy­cled to­day. This is why fees vary from prod­uct to prod­uct.

ly 2014 and in the month of Novem­ber alone ran two col­lec­tion events in ar­eas that cur­rently do not have per­ma­nent drop-off cen­tres. In ad­di­tion, as some ru­ral lo­ca­tions across the prov­ince do not have easy ac­cess to a drop-off cen­tre, there will be spe­cial col­lec­tion events an­nu­ally in those ar­eas. Dunville, for ex­am­ple, is one of the lo­ca­tions where EPRA will sched­ule a spe­cial re­cy­cling event in 2014.

EPRA’s not-for-profit pro­gram ac­cepts and re­cy­cles a range of prod­ucts, in­clud­ing: tele­vi­sions, mon­i­tors, desk­top prin­ters, com­put­ers, key­boards, non-cel­lu­lar tele­phones, au­dio and vis­ual sys­tems. There’s no cost to drop off your un­wanted prod­ucts; how­ever, there is a fee paid at the time of pur­chas­ing new elec­tron­ics. The fee is cal­cu­lated based on the ac­tual costs to re­spon­si­bly man­age and re­cy­cle the items be­ing re­cy­cled to­day. This is why fees vary from prod­uct to prod­uct.

At EPRA, we run our pro­grams re­spon­si­bly, ac­count­ably and trans­par­ently. We only work with re­cy­clers who meet the high­est stan­dards in en­vi­ron­ment and health and safety prac­tices. We also mon­i­tor the En­vi­ron­men­tal Han­dling Fees to en­sure they ac­cu­rately re­flect the ac­tual costs to man­age and re­cy­cle end-of-life elec­tron­ics. In show­ing the EHF on the con­sumers’ re­ceipts it lets them know that they now have ac­cess to a re­cy­cling pro­gram for their un­wanted elec­tron­ics in the prov­ince. By re­spon­si­bly re­cy­cling end-of-life elec­tron­ics through the EPRA NL pro­gram, we are all help­ing to keep elec­tron­ics out of land­fills and pre­vent them from be­ing il­le­gally ex­ported.

By the end of our first full year of op­er­a­tions, we es­ti­mate ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 met­ric tonnes of end-of-life elec­tron­ics will be col­lected and re­spon­si­bly re­cy­cled. That’s equiv­a­lent to 100 trac­tor-trail­ers at full load ca­pac­ity!

We’re con­fi­dent our pro­gram will ben­e­fit the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador, now and for gen­er­a­tions to come. It’s an im­por­tant step to­ward man­ag­ing our elec­tron­ics re­spon­si­bly and pro­tect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment. We thank New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans for their in­ter­est in and sup­port of this im­por­tant pro­gram.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the pro­gram or the Elec­tronic Han­dling Fee, res­i­dents can visit www.re­cy­cleMY­elec­tron­ics.ca/nl . — Terry Greene is pro­gram di­rec­tor NL, for the Elec­tronic Prod­ucts

Re­cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion

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