Clearing up confusion on Environmental Handling Fee for electronics

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Dear Editor.

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 early 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. Areas of coastal Labrador, for example, are on the list of locations where EPRA will schedule special recycling events in the New Year. 

EPRA’s not-for-profit program accepts and recycles a range of products including: televisions, monitors, desktop printers, computers, keyboards, noncellular 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 .

Sincerely,

Terry Greene

Program Director – NL

Electronic Products Recycling Association

Organizations: Electronic Products Recycling Association, Dear Editor, Electronic Products

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Centres

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