Ontario gets low marks on e-waste program scorecard

Ontario’s e-waste program may not be giving the province’s residents the biggest bang for their bucks, according to a report to be presented at a global conference starting tomorrow in Montreal.

The study compares the cost and effectiveness of e-waste programs infour Canadian regions – Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, andthe combined jurisdiction of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island –based on four measurements.

The Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) program costs $1,634 per tonne ofe-waste collected, making it the second most costly program behindSaskatchewan’s which costs $1,863 per tonne. Yet Ontario’s programranks last out of all four regional initiatives when it comes to theamount of e-waste collected (2.62 kg per capita), how much accessresidents have to the program, and public awareness.

Ontario’s score on the public awareness front was particularly low.Only 65 per cent of Ontarians are aware of the OES and its programs,well below the awareness levels in Saskatchewan (82 per cent), NovaScotia and Prince Edward combined (80 per cent) and B.C. (78 per cent).

The OES has come under fire in thepast two years for reports that itran a $20-million surplus (yet did not reduce e-waste fees charged onconsumer electronics goods) and collected less than half of the e-wasteset out in its original target during its first year. Jonathan Spencerbecame the new head of OES in April after Carol Hochu left to takeanother job.

The e-waste scorecard was quietly posted on the Web site for theElectronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) last December andreceived little or no media coverage. The EPRA was created last year asCanada’s national non-profit body to oversee e-waste programs acrossthe country.

The report will be presented on Thursday at the seventh InternationalTelecommunications Union Symposium on Information and CommunicationsTechnology (ICT), the Environment and Climate Change. It’s the firsttime the event has ever been held in North America.

The three-day summit will include presentations by Bell Canada,Microsoft Corp., IBM, Ericsson, South Korean Telecom and TelecomItalia.

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