Government agencies worldwide have been looking at ways to regulate the disposal of electronic waste. Each country has differing legislation; hence efforts to standardize e-waste disposal worldwide are lengthy and incomplete processes. Below is some general information about the initiatives being implemented in Canada and abroad to manage this important environmental issue.
Previously electronic waste disposal was managed by a variety of provincial stewardship programs and harmonization was difficult. Today E-Stewardship, an offshoot of EPSC (Electronic Product Stewardship Canada) is in the process of harmonizing existing provincial initiatives. The successful completion of this important work will ensure all discarded electronics will be processed in a consistent, ethical, best practice environment.
When selecting an environmental services partner it is imperative to make sure they have been certified and approved in the provinces in which they operate. Currently all Canadian provinces and territories have implemented or are developing e-waste programs. FCM Recycling is approved under these programs OES, ARMA and ACES and is a recycling supplier in the Province of Québec. These designations ensure all FCM facilities undergo third party audits, providing clients with the assurance that their electronic materials have been recycled properly within Canada.
United StatesMany states in the U.S. have passed legislation mandating state-wide electronic recycling. The majority of the states are under a Producer Responsibility Law. This law states that state-wide collection, transportation and recycling system should be financed by the manufacturers of those electronic devices. California has instituted a recycling fee that is charged to the consumer upon purchase, these funds are then passed to the state and used to reimburse recyclers and collectors. Some states have not made progress in the field of electronic recycling.
EuropeThe European Union (EU) has been a world leader in this regard, with the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive in 2002, which became law in 2003. The WEEE directive is also innovative in that it puts the responsibility for the safe disposal and recycling of e-waste on manufacturers. In fact, it goes as far as setting targets for the collection, recycling and recovery of e-waste. Manufacturers are also asked to establish collection infrastructures to facilitate the returning of e-waste by consumers, at no charge. Companies are also asked to dispose of the e-waste in a way that is environmentally sound, or to reuse or refurbish the equipment. In 2010 and 2011 Europe will be updating the current program.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive: » Visit Website
E-Stewardship is an affiliate of EPSC and is now in the process of harmonizing provincial electronics recycling initiatives.