The management of used electrical and electronics equipment (e-waste) is rapidly becoming a major public policy issue in Canada and elsewhere around the world. Environmental concerns relate to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the materials these products contain and the increasingly large quantity of these products that require disposal in waste management systems. E-waste may contain lead, cadmium, mercury, and other potentially hazardous materials.
In accordance with CCME principles for pollution prevention, producers of electrical and electronic products are responsible for their products at end-of life. It is widely recognized that legislative/regulatory initiatives are required to establish a level playing field for industry in the management of e-waste. The objective of these Canada-wide principles is to assist and support jurisdictions in the development of e-waste programs. While recognizing differences in the legislative/regulatory framework and existing programs among jurisdictions, CCME encourages regional or national cooperation in the development of e-waste programs. Specific measures undertaken by each jurisdiction will be at their discretion, with the goal of effective, efficient, and harmonized implementation.
To promote harmonization of approaches to the greatest extent possible, and to prevent market distortions among jurisdictions, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) endorses the following Canada-wide principles for electronics product stewardship:
a. Reduce, including reduction in toxicity and redesign of products for improved reusability or recyclability
d. Recovery, of materials and/or energy from the mixed e-waste stream