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Recent Developments In Environmental Law

by Julian Hutchinson

Waste Diversion and Eco Fees Update

On April 4th, 2013, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, issued a statement regarding waste diversion and eco fees. Minister Jim Bradley stated that as of May 1st, 2013 a number of recycling fees are to be changed. These fees are to be focused on produced by electronic products.

Some producers indicate that they will not be responsible for the fees associated with recycling (what is being called a recycling tax). However, the Minister strongly disagrees with this notion and has stated that he sees no reason why this payment should not be attributed to manufacturers rather than the consumers. Recycling of a product at the end of its usage is part of the cost of doing business, akin to paying an employee’s wages, etc. There is no “rent surcharge” as the Minister suggested put on a sales receipt and there should also be no “eco fee” either. It should therefore be the sole responsibility of the producers/manufacturers to incur this expense.

The Minister expressed much disappointment regarding the use of eco fees by some manufacturers/producers and fears that the increase in some recycling fees may find their way to unknowing consumers. Consequently Minister Bradley, in order to address this problem will, in the spring session, be introducing a new waste legislation Bill. This Bill, if passed, would increase waste diversion while protecting consumers against added expenses.