Electronics Recycling Industry FAQs
- What is the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)?
EPRA is a not-for-profit extended producer responsibility association set up by the major producers and retailers of electronics to provide industry-led and regulated recycling programs for unwanted electronics. Members of EPRA include Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and their members.
- The program was originally set up and run by ESABC. Why has it changed to EPRA?
The program was previously run by ESABC and transitioned to the national program (EPRA) to enhance efficiencies.
- Who runs the program?
EPRA has contracted with Encorp Pacific to deliver the stewardship program under the Return-ItTM brand in British Columbia. Encorp’s mandate on behalf of EPRA is to manage a consumer friendly and cost effective system to recover regulated electronic products from consumers and ensure that they are recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner and not landfilled or shipped to developing nations. The program is named “Return-It Electronics” and is designed to shift the responsibility for the responsible recycling of unwanted products from BC taxpayers (through municipalities and regional districts) to the producers and consumers of these products.
- Why is this program important?
The Return-It Electronics recycling program provides an environmentally sound recycling option for unwanted electronics providing assurance that these items will not be landfilled or illegally exported. You can drop off any of the acceptable products at designated Return-It ElectronicsTM Collection Sites without charge, and be assured they will be recycled responsibly.
- Where in BC can I return my electronics?
There are more than 130 convenient locations in BC. Visit www.return-it.ca/electronics/locations to find a Return-It™ collection site nearest you.
- What are the acceptable electronic items included in the program, and how much are the fees?
Regulated electronic items can be recycled free of charge at any Return-It ElectronicsCollection Site. The associated Environmental Handling Fees (EHF) are charged at the time of purchase.
- Where will the collected electronics go?
Following collection, consolidated electronics are shipped to approved processing and recycling contractors. All recyclers are under contract with EPRA and required to meet Recycling Qualification Program standards to ensure materials are processed in an environmentally sound manner with appropriate health, safety and export provisions. Find the qualification standards at www.RQP.ca.
- Isn’t it important to reuse before recycling?
Absolutely. While our program is designed to manage unwanted electronic products that have exhausted their reuse potential, we strongly encourage users to first reuse their products. We recommend reusing within your own family first. If you choose to donate to a charity, be sure to research how the charity uses the equipment and how they will dispose of it when it is no longer useful. Make sure you have backed up your data and wiped your drives clean prior to donation or passing on your old electronics.
- Does this affect my company?
Yes, if you sell, distribute, manufacture or import any of the regulated products in or into British Columbia (including online sales), you must be part of an approved program. Other electrical products such as power tools, appliances, lights and fixtures are not part of the Return-ItTM Electronics program.
- Is there an approved program I can join?
Yes, leading electronics manufacturers and retailers have formed the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) . They have contracted with Encorp Return-It Electronics and were issued an approval to operate by The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and has an operational program since August 1, 2007.
- How does the Return-It Electronics program work?
The program utilizes a province wide system of collection locations where consumers can drop off regulated, unwanted electronics without charge. The collected equipment is shipped to a certified recycler to be recycled in an environmentally sound manner. The program also includes a consumer education component (including point of purchase material).
- I am a retailer; do I need to register with Encorp?
Yes, you are responsible for registering with Encorp, and indicating if you want to be charged the EHF by suppliers on your purchases of obligated products, or if you would like to be exempt from the EHF on your purchases in which case you would be responsible for reporting and remitting the EHF to EPRA.
- How can I join Encorp's Return-It Electronics program?
For more information call us at 1-800-330-9767. The registration process will require you to complete a membership agreement and provide required information. Once you are registered we will notify the government that you are part of the Return-It Electronics program.
- What happens if I choose not to join the Return-It Electronics program?
According to the regulation, unless you are part of an approved program, you will not be permitted to sell obligated products in the province. The list of Return-It Electronics members will be posted on the website and the BC Ministry of Environment will be notified of any non-compliant companies so that enforcement action can be taken.
- Are online sales covered by the program?
Yes, the regulation captures all vendors who sell online as well as any BC residents who purchase online and import into the province.
- What is the electronics industry doing to reduce the impact of their products on the environment?
Electronics producers have undertaken various initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of their products, several key areas of improvement include: chemical management; energy efficiency; materials management; design for recycling; and product expandability. For more information, visit epsc.ca. From here you can find links to each EPSC member’s company and environmental information.