Aluminum cans are the most expensive item in your blue box. One pound of aluminum makes approximately 29.51 cans. At June 2009 prices that works out to $0.023 per can.

Ontario has no return/refund program for aluminum cans and the cost of collecting your aluminum cans and taking it to the scrap metal recycler might not be worth it. However every aluminum can should be recycled.

It takes 95% less energy to make a new aluminum can from a recycled aluminum can. Throwing away a single aluminum can is like pouring out 0.03 liters of gasoline.

In Toronto the Knox United Church collects aluminum cans and sells it to a scrap metal recycler. The proceeds are given to habitat for humanity. This might be a better cause than helping your local municipality make money from your

As for 2L pop bottles each bottle is make of 0.114640 pounds of PET plastic. The amount of plastic in a 2L pop bottle is $0.039.

Prices for Recyclables

What recyclable commodities sell for:

-Aluminum Cans

High $2,209 a tonne in July;

Low $1,089 in January.

-Plastic bottles

High $434 a tonne in March; Low of $53 a tonne in November ($66 in January).

-Newspapers

High $169 a tonne in August; Low $38 a tonne in January.

-Boxboard

High $77 a tonne in March; Low $3 a tonne in January.

-Steel Cans

High $416 a tonne in July; Low $31 a tonne in November ($44 in January).

-Plastic Tubs and Lids

High $295 a tonne in September; Low $6 a tonne in January.

Source: CSR Composite Index, Ontario Spot Market Price Trends for January 2009

Look carefully at a retail receipt and you might notice a ECOFFE charge. This is a new environmental charge in Ontario that went into effect on July 1, 2008. Retailers have been legislated by the government of Ontario to charge this fee on behalf on the Stewardship Ontario. Which is an organization which has been established to implement environmental recycling programs, such as the blue bin program.

The organization expects to collect at least $28 million per year from consumers under the eco fee program.

The 2008 annual report states that Stewardship Ontario collected the following amounts from a combination of retail eco fees and municipal taxes in the years 2004-2008.

2004 $40,923,863
2005 $63,504,052
2006 $65,147,760
2007 $61,564,749
2008 $70,695,695

Stewardship Ontario spent $2.8 million in administrative costs in 2008.

Retailers can either charge the fee to consumers as a separate charge, which is what Canadian Tire does with its eco fee, or can hide the charge in the price of the item.

Under Ontario's current retail sales tax law if the fee is hidden you will be charged PST on the fee. If the fee is separate then you will be not be charged PST on the fee because according to the government of Ontario "RST does not apply to the fee payable to Stewardship Ontario as the organization is not providing taxable goods or taxable services. "

If you were charged PST on your eco fee you should ask for you money back. Check the government of Ontario's website on the RST law.

Stewardship Ontario has applied for a GST ruling and is waiting for the government of Canada is decide if GST applies to the eco fee fee. Until a ruling is made GST will be charged on the eco fee fee.

If the government of Canada decides that the GST does not apply to the eco fee then it raises the question, how are you going to get your GST money back?

The fee is now being charged on Phase 1 products. The eco fee will be charged on paints and coatings and their containers, solvents such as thinners for paint, lacquer and contact cement, paint strippers and degreasers, used oil filters, oil containers of 30 litres or less, single-use batteries, antifreeze, propane tanks, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.

The second phase will include aerosol containers, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, switches that contain mercury, thermostats, thermometers, barometers, pharmaceuticals and syringes.

A final phase will include items like contact cement, corrosive cleaners such as ammonia, and pool and photo chemicals.

The fee schedule for the period July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2009. The fee is revised every year. The 2008 annual report stated that since the price of recyclables has reduced and with the introduction of new harder to recycle plastics there will be an increase of 18% in the July 2009 to December 2010 fee schedule.




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