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.

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