Thursday, December 26, 2013

Look Out for Ontario Electronic Recycling Fees this Boxing Week

Photo Credit: Walmart Canada

As the waste remains presents and cards are being cleaned off the floor, Christmas of 2013 has close to a wrap. Starting on December 26th, a large number of people will be putting their newfound cash and/or gift cards to use at retail stores as well as online portals. Boxing Day or Week has become a shopping tradition where customers indulge themselves in the single or multiple items we have otherwise deprived ourselves from up to this point. With little doubt, a great deal of shopping will occur in the electronics section.

In Ontario, like several other provinces in Canada, collect an electronic recycling fee on a wide-range of technology. Check-out may be the first time where some of us will become familiar with the additional cost added to our choice electronic. Intended to cover the cost of an electronic device's end-of-use or disposal and run by the Ontario Electronic stewardship, it is charged on top of what we pay for a new product fitting into the taxing criteria.

In Ontario, the electronic recycling fees currently spans from 5 cents for a cell phone or pager up to $173.75 for a floor-based photocopier or printer machine. For customers this Boxing Week, the televisions and computer monitors could prove to be the most highest purchased item with the heaviest recycling fees. For televisions up to 29 inches in screen size, the additional cost this holiday season is $12.25. Planning to buy a big screen? The Ontario electronic recycling fee skyrockets to more than triple cost of a smaller set. When over 29 inches in size, the Ontario electronic recycling fee runs $39.50. If looking for a medium-sized television around 27 to 32 inches, the electronic recycling fee cost could be something to consider. It might cause you to reconsider the net benefit of a few inches of screen size.

Since instituted in Ontario in mid-2009, electronic recycling fee has gone through five major adjustments. When the fee was for introduced, desktop computers received the highest fee amount at $13.44. Portable and home entertainment devices such as MP3 players, photo frames and digital cameras were originally exempted. With the latest fee structure introduced this May, a large selection of everyday electronics is now subject to an electronic recycling fee. Along with laptop or netbooks, the portable computer fee also encapsulates the popular tablet devices. The following is the fee structures created through the lifetime of the Ontario electronic recycling fee:

Ontario Electronic Recycling Fees Since Program's Inception

Item April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010 April 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011 August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 January 1, 2013 to April 30, 2013 May 1, 2013 to current

Cell Phones or Pager NA 0.10 0.01 0.10 0.05

Video, Audio or Image Device

Portable NA 0.40 0.10 0.15 0.75
Home Sized NA 2.75 1.45 5.15 7.10
Home Theatre in a Box NA 9.95 7.80 7.80 7.10
Aftermarket Vehicle Equipment NA 2.85 1.55 3.00 4.00

Television or Monitor

Computer Monitor 12.03 12.25 11.00 12.25 12.25
Under 18” 10.07 12.25 11.00 12.25 12.25
18” to 29” 10.07 12.25 11.00 12.25 12.25
29” to 45” 10.07 26.25 25.00 27.60 39.50
Over 45” 10.07 26.25 25.00 27.60 39.50
All-in-One Computer* 13.44 12.25 11.00 12.25 12.25


Desktop 13.44 7.80 3.50 3.40 3.00
Portable 2.14 2.75 0.70 2.30 1.50

Mouse 0.32 0.40 0.05 0.30 0.75
Keyboard 0.32 0.40 0.05 0.30 0.75
Hard Drive 0.32 0.40 0.05 0.30 0.75
Optical Drive 0.32 0.40 0.05 0.30 0.75
Modem NA 0.40 0.05 0.30 0.75

Telephone or Answering Machine NA 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.50


Desktop Printer or Copier 5.05 5.40 5.40 11.45 10.35
Floor Printer Device 5.05 32.50 32.50 341.20 173.75
Floor Copier 5.05 32.50 32.50 341.20 173.75

* All-in-one units were not specifically mentioned on the initial fee structure. I made an assumption it is considered a desktop computer.

While printing equipment showed some massive increases, the cost for television sets have also showed a steady peak upwards. Televisions over 29 inches in size are being levied with an electronic recycling fee almost four times greater today than when the program in imposed in 2009. While most fees have risen from the initial 2009 setup, the Ontario electronic recycling fee has dropped considerably for desktop computers and even for portable computers.

Important Exemptions

Not all electronics are subjected to electronic recycling fees. Among the major products not subjected to electronic recycling fees is video game consoles, Bluetooth headsets, eReaders, memory cards and a majority of computer components are not assessed fees at this time. It's also interesting that while a standard computer hard drive is subject to a fee, solid state storage devices are not. A full list of electronic products is provided on the Ontario Electronic Stewardship website.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hammacher Schlemmer Showcase: The No Glasses Required 3D Tablet

Photo source: Hammacher Schlemmer 

It searching for the ideal gift for the technology lover, a computer tablet could have been a great gift idea in previous years. However, during this 2013 holiday season, its likely a tablet has already found its way into the hands of a loved one. The constant advancement of technology could present a realistic prospect that the gift receiver may appreciate a modern upgrade. For 2013, the leading Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface and Samsung devices have kept setting a rapid pace for technology evolution offering a variety of flashy enhancements such as fingerprint recognition and simple animation studios. For fans of 3D, retailer Hammacher Schlemmer has a tablet to fulfil those seeking the extra-ordinary viewing experience.

Being sold as the "No Glasses 3D Tablet", this device produces a three-dimensional perspective without the need for special eyewear traditionally associated with 3D. Operating with an eight-inch touchscreen, the No Glasses 3D Tablet operates with a parallax barrier (similar to the display provided on the Nintendo 3DS device). Automatically distinguishing 3D content, the No Glasses 3D Tablet also functions efficiently with 2D media. Video and webpages is viewed in 1,080p HD resolution with the No Glasses 3D Tablet.

The No Glasses 3D Tablet is based on an Android 4.1 operating system providing a familiar environment of productivity and entertainment. Bluetooth and two cameras are also part of the No Glasses 3D Tablet. The rear camera is 2.0 megapixel and the front camera is 0.3 megapixel.

With time remaining ahead of Christmas day, the No Glasses 3D Tablet can be ordered for $349.95 US from Hammacher Schlemmer as a gift for someone special (Ourselves included).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Recent Online Sales Show Shoppers Beating Black Friday Rush

Photo source: IBM

Another Black Friday has gone by as the defacto start to the 2013 shopping season in the United States. Still predominately a US moment of consumerism, the day has taken advantage of a period after their Thanksgiving Day holiday. With Black Friday, the mood changes from that of family togetherness. Buying gifts for others for holidays, the shopping season is also a period where consumers are encouraged in indulge. Low prices on desirable goods insures consumers have an extra incentive to part with their cash or credit.   

While the majority of Black Friday crowds were well-maintained for the most part, there were more than enough references to shoppers behaving badly. Either the fierce determination to buy a super cheap door-crasher or simply the stress of the densely populated shopping centres and stores has resulted in some situations where many US shoppers want to seek some kind of sanctuary. Free of crowds and guilt of leaving early for a shopping centre, online buying has become an attractive, less stressful way to endure Black Friday.

In recent years, the Monday following the US thanksgiving had been named the prime shopping time for online deals. Called Cyber Monday, new data published by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark has determined online retail benefitted from both Black Friday as well as Thanksgiving Day itself. According to the IBM report, shopping online during Black Friday showed a sizable 18.9 percent compared to the previous year. The Average order amount had also showed a modest 2.2 percent increase over 2012 at $135.27. More impressive growth was shown on Thanksgiving Day 2013 equating to 19.7 percent.

The IBM report of online shopping has also detected a big increase with purchases made on mobile devices. On Black Friday 2013, smartphones were part of 24.9 percent of online buying traffic. Sales made on smartphones average in value of $115.63 on Black Friday. Signifying an increase of more than 10 percent with smartphone buying, the report showed double growth in the use of tablets for online shopping. Purchases on tablets were also shown to, on average, exceed those made on smartphones by $20. Also measured was the two dominant mobile platforms iOS and Android operating system. Accounting for 18.1 percent of all online sales according to IBM, the iOS user's transaction was measured at $127.92. Android device users only accounted for 3.5 percent of online orders averaging at $105.20.

Despite easy accessibility to brick-and-mortar stores, online shopping was highly favoured in major cities. New York City proved the most popular locale for Black Friday activity online.

Photo source: IBM