Environmental Handling Fees represent great value for your Ontario business. These negligible charges, levied on the purchase of all new and regulated electronic products, are what allow the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) to manage an effective end-of-life electronics recycling program.
Current EHFs in Ontario vary depending on the product being purchased. But each is calculated to cover the actual costs associated with that item’s responsible recycling once your company no longer needs it:
Computer Peripherals (including mice, modems, and keyboards) – $0.75
Portable and Desktop Computers – $1.00 and $1.40, respectively
Non-Cellular Telephones and Answering Machines – $1.50
Display Devices (like computer monitors) – $7.00 to $28.00, depending on their size
Desktop and Floor-Standing Multi-Function Devices (think printers and fax machines) – $2.50 and $25.00, respectively
It’s important to recognize that the EHF is neither a government tax (although all EHFs are subject to applicable sales tax), nor a refundable deposit.
It’s also important to be aware that only those service providers that have been audited by the OES are able to access EHF funds. If your service provider isn’t OES-approved, they’re either disposing of recycled assets illegally through exportation, or something worse like dumping them in a landfill.
So where exactly do EHFs go once they’re collected from your electronic product’s point of sale? Let’s follow the money and find out.
Electronics Drop-off or Pick-up:
The EHF first contributes to recycling convenience by allowing your business to bring unwanted electronics to OES drop-off locations for free. Alternatively, OES-approved service providers like Quantum offer complimentary pick-up (minimum quantities apply). Either way, EHF support guarantees that your old electronics are processed safely, in accordance with environmental standards, and with the utmost respect for data security.
Transport, Consolidation, and Repacking:
Once collected and sorted, unwanted electronic items in Ontario are sent to an OES-approved recycling facility for disassembling. The EHF helps to improve recycling efficiency – and contributes to a reduced carbon footprint – by allowing materials in remote locations to be transported to consolidation centres.
Primary Processor Handling:
All primary processors in the electronics recycling journey – Quantum included – are RQO (Recycler Qualification Office) certified to the ERS 2010 National Electronics Recycling Standard.
At this point in their journey, the EHF allows your recycled electronics take one of two paths – dismantling or refurbishment.
Dismantling happens in several stages and involves both manual and mechanical disassembly. Hazardous materials like lead and mercury are removed from old electronics to ensure their proper management downstream. Responsible handling of these substances is crucial to protect both the environment and the health and safety of the workers removing them.
All remaining materials in your recycled electronics are then separated out to recover individual components. Some components, including (but not limited to) leaded glass, mercury lamps, ink and toner, and plastics, have a negative inherent value. Were it not for EHF fees, there would be a charge to recycle at the end of their useful life.
Meanwhile, valuable commodities like steel, gold, silver, copper, aluminum, and palladium are recovered and turned into new and different products, helping to offset the costs of properly recycling these products.
Many unwanted or obsolete electronics still have a lot of life left in them when they’re given up for recycling. Standard office IT products such as desktops computers, laptops, monitors, printers – even mobile devices – can sometimes be refurbished, sold, and reused as intact devices.
As a reputable ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) partner, Quantum takes steps to ensure refurbished items are tested and working before they’re exported internationally or are put back into North America’s supply chain. And because Quantum is an authorized Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, they have the capacity to install Microsoft operating systems on refurbished equipment, maximizing its value and your return on recycling.
EHFs in Ontario apply to new items only – those set to enter the consumer market for the very first time. That means that if you or your business chooses to invest in refurbished electronics, you’ll not only be extending their useful life, your purchase will be exempt from the Environmental Handling Fee. Definitely something to think about.
What DON’T Environmental Handling Fees cover?
EHFs are not designed to pay for value-added services over and above the basic recycling of end-of-life electronics. These services include everything from asset auditing to data destruction. Using a reputable, OES-approved generator like Quantum ensures the best of both worlds for your business: subsidized recycling of end-of-life assets, audited processes for proper data handling, value maximization through asset resale and peace of mind that everything is being done according to industry standards.