Ontario is set to introduce an advance electronics recycling fee on certain consumer electronics purchased in the province. The government will collect a levy from retailers on computers, and televisions sold in the province. This levy may be applied in the future to cellphones, stereos, VCRs, DVD players, fax machines and electronic games.

Advance recycle fees are viewed by some consumers as another government tax, so all provinces with this fee have legislated that recycle fee be built into the cost of the product.

Electronic Waste is Hazardous

Electronic waste is a significant environmental problem. Most electronics contains toxic elements such as lead and other heavy metals, including mercury and cadmium. As such they have to be properly disposed and should not be sent to landfills.

Lead affects the human central nervous system and kidneys, while mercury can lead to brain damage, birth defects, kidney failure, respiratory harm and liver damage. It has also been linked to autism in children.

Electronic equipment also contains chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, brominated flame-retardants and polyvinyl chlorides, which can pollute groundwater.

Electronics also contain valuable material such as aluminum, ferrous metals and copper that could be recycled. Yet because of a shortage of electronic waste recycling facilities in Canada, very little is recovered.

RoHS Legislation rather than an Electronic Levy

The introduction of advance electronics recycling fee does not mean that the government is making the environment safer. Revenue generated from the fee must be used to operate more recycling centers in Canada. It should also be used to encourage consumers to recycle more. The government should also follow European standards and introduce RoHS legislation, which mandates that electronic manufacturers should not use hazardous chemicals in electronic manufacturing.

Lead-free solder exists and RoHS compliant electronics are sold in stores, even in Canada. Adding an electronics levy will not encourage consumers to recycle. Consumers are still going to throw away their electronics with their garbage. They might even justify their actions because they have paid the government a `recycling` fee.

So prepare for another tax (sorry, fee) in Ontario the next time you buy a computer, or TV and you can throw the old one out without feeling bad because you have paid an environment levy already.

However if you want to still help the environment you could sell your old electronic item on Craig's List, Kijiji or eBay. This requires a little more work but makes you a few dollars while saving the future of our planet.

Canadian recycling centers have to follow environmental legislation. However recycling centers in Canada which only collect and ship electronic waste to China and India are still considered environmentally friendly. Greenpeace has a video on YouTube of what happens to your recycled electronics when they don't end up in a landfill.



Electronics Recycling Fees by Province


Alberta - Since February 2005

  • Television (18" and smaller) $15
  • Television (19" - 29") $25
  • Television (30" - 45") $30
  • Television (46" and larger) $45
  • Desktop/server computers (CPU. keyboard, mouse, cable, & speakers) $10
  • Printers/printer combos $8
  • Laptops/electronic notebooks $5
  • Computer monitors (LCD & CRT) $12
BC - Since August 2007
  • Television (18" and smaller) $15
  • Television (19" - 29") $25
  • Television (30" - 45") $30
  • Television (46" and larger) $45
  • Desktop/server computers (CPU. keyboard, mouse, cable, & speakers) $10
  • Printers/printer combos $8
  • Laptops/electronic notebooks $5
  • Computer monitors (LCD & CRT) $12
Nova Scotia - Since February 2008
  • Television (18" and smaller) $15
  • Television (19" - 29") $25
  • Television (30" - 45") $30
  • Television (46" and larger) $45
  • Desktop/server computers (CPU. keyboard, mouse, cable, & speakers) $10
  • Printers/printer combos $8
  • Laptops/electronic notebooks $5
  • Computer monitors (LCD & CRT) $12
Saskatchewan - Since February 2007
  • Television (18" and smaller) $15
  • Television (19" - 29") $25
  • Television (30" - 45") $30
  • Television (46" and larger) $45
  • Desktop/server computers (CPU. keyboard, mouse, cable, & speakers) $10
  • Printers/printer combos $8
  • Laptops/electronic notebooks $5
  • Computer monitors (LCD & CRT) $12
Ontario - Coming Soon
  • The proposed levy would be about $12 for a desktop, $2 for a laptop, $10 for a TV and $11 for a computer monitor.

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