Major recycling expansion for ‘cord-and-battery’ products set to roll out July 1 across B.C.
B.C.’s industry-managed recycling programs for consumer products will undergo a major expansion effective July 1, extending to electrical items such as power tools, sewing machines, lawn mowers, grass trimmers, flashlights, and table lamps.
Consumers will be able to drop off these items at recycling depots at no extra charge since the cost of contracting out for collection, transportation, and recycling of components, such as metals and plastics, is already included in the sales price.
Craig Wisehart, executive director of the Electronic Products Stewardship Association, said in an interview Tuesday this is the fifth and final phase of the electronic recycling program since 2007.
“We call this the cord-and-battery phase because it really does regulate everything with a cord and a battery,” Wisehart said. “This puts B.C. as the leader in Canada certainly in the number of products covered.”
There are now a total of 14 industry-managed not-for-profit recycling sectors, covering everything from electronics and beverage containers to paint and batteries, not including major private companies such as Telus and Shaw, which run their own programs.
Jordan Best, senior program coordinator for the Product Care Association, said the number of small appliances that can be recycled expands effective July 1 to more than 300 from 120, with about 120 drop-off depots across the province. The industry cradle-to-grave collection system is separate from municipal curbside blue boxes.
“It certainly is an expansion, providing recycling options for a number of new product types,” Best said.
Small-appliance recycling fees vary from $1 for hair dryers and irons to $2.25 for blenders and toasters to $10 for large microwaves. Not all retailers specify the recycling fee on the sales receipt.
Shafiq Jamal, western vice-president of the Retail Council of Canada, said retailers are committed to the expanded programs, and want to raise awareness among consumers about the recycling options now available to them.
“We’re on board,” he said. “Retailers realize that doing the right thing is what we have to do these days. I’m a self-professed pack rat. I’m a tool and gadget geek. I want to do the right thing.”
The latest recycling phase is mandated by the provincial recycling regulation, under authority of the Environmental Management Act.
Highlights of the new recycling options available July 1:
• The small-appliance program has covered products such as blenders, toasters, fans, microwaves, and vacuums since Oct. 1, 2011, collecting more than 600,000 kilograms of product in the first three months of operation. The program now expands to include power tools such as table saws and drills, as well as sewing machines and electronic exercise machines. Visit http://www.unpluggedrecycling.ca.
• Outdoor power equipment such as electric lawn mowers, chain saws, and grass trimmers are covered. Visit http://www.opeic.ca.
• Light recycling, in place since July 2010 for residential-use fluorescent lights and tubes, expands to all residential-use lights, including incandescent and halogen products, and fixtures including table lamps, chandeliers, and flashlights. Fees on lighting items covered by the expanded program won’t kick in until Oct. 1, when the program also expands to the commercial and industrial sectors. Visit http://www.productcare.org/lights. • With most electronics such as computers, TVs, printers and stereos, already covered, the expansion covers gaming consoles, ebook readers, small medical devices such as thermometers, electronic musical instruments, and hand-held GPS devices as well as commercial-industrial products, including major communications equipment such as modular computer servers. Visit http://www.return-it.ca/electronics/faqs/elec-july2012.
Some of the above websites may not be fully updated until July 1.
Products purchased before the application of special fees at the retail level can still be returned for recycling.