General

What is Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)?

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) is the not-for-profit entity chartered with improving the efficiency of regulated e-waste reclamation and recycling processes. Members of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) established EPRA in 2011.

 

What is EPRA-Québec?

Created in May 2012, EPRA-Québec is a recognized industry-led not-for-profit organization comprised of manufacturers, distributors and retailers of electronics sold in Quebec. It is liable for implementing and operating, on behalf of its stewards, a responsible program for the recycling of electronic products in accordance with standards established by EPRA and the requirements of the Quebec Product Stewardship Program for End-of-Life Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
 

Is EPRA-Québec a government organization?

No, EPRA-Québec is an industry-led not-for-profit organization, which is liable, under an agreement with RECYC-QUÉBEC, for implementing and operating, on behalf of its stewards, a responsible program for the recycling of electronic products.

 

Why manage end-of-life electronics?

Like tin cans and newspaper, unwanted electronics should never end up in the garbage. Much of the plastic and metal in computers and TVs, for example, can be reclaimed and used to make everything from irrigation piping to coins. As well, many older electronics contain substances of concern that, if not handled properly, could have environmental impacts and cause health and safety issues.

 

Why does Québec need a diversion program for waste electronics?

Thousands of tonnes of waste electronics are generated each year in Québec. This program, managed by EPRA-Québec, is intended to encourage diversion of these materials through reuse and refurbishment, as well as safe and environmentally-sound recycling of the various components through a network of credentialed service providers including municipal, non-for-profit, retail and commercial. We all have a role to play in ensuring unwanted electronics like computers, printers and televisions, along with their toxic components, don’t end up in landfill.
 

Isn’t it important to reuse before recycling?

Absolutely. The EPRA-Québec program is designed to manage unwanted electronic products that have exhausted their reuse potential. If your electronic items are not at the end of their useful life, you are encouraged to donate them to family members, friends or local charities, as well as reuse organizations.

For more information, please see Reuse or Recycle?

 

Environmental Handling Fee (EHF)

How are EHF rates established?

Our industry-led provincial programs, not the government, are responsible for setting the EHFs for each program. When setting these fees, our industry had utilized a harmonized methodology to group similar products into categories and set a fee based on the cost of recycling the different products in a particular category. As such, EHFs can be different depending on the product being purchased, as well as from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

In Quebec, as the program is still in its start-up phase, EHFs must cover the initial costs of implementing the program and handling historic and orphaned products. EPRA regularly reviews EHFs to ensure that they reflect actual costs.

How are EHFs calculated?

The EHF is not related to the price of a product – it is based on the cost of recycling a particular product. EHF rates are established to reflect the actual costs of managing products at the end of their useful life, i.e. the costs related to the collection, transportation and responsible recycling of products.

Other factors are also taken into account when calculating applicable EHFs that are applied to a given product, such as:

  • Volume of sales
  • Volume of products to be recycled
  • Total weight
  • Transportation distance

Moreover, the program is designed so the cost of managing one category is not subsidized by the fees paid in another category.
 

How is the program funded?

The EPRA-Québec Program is funded by the application of an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) on the cost of new electronic products regulated and marketed in Quebec. All program revenue will be used for the administration, collection, transportation and responsible recycling of unwanted electronics.
 

Is the EHF a tax?

No. The EHF is not a government tax. It is not set by the government or collected by the government. The government does not track it or receive any financial proceeds from it.

Recycling fees are not new; they are a long-standing part of Canada’s effective industry-managed recycling system.

All fees collected by EPRA-Québec go towards covering the program’s costs to collect, transport and process unwanted electronic products. In addition, funds are used for public education and awareness, research and development and continuous improvements in technology.
 

Is the EHF taxable?

The environmental handling fees constitute a taxable supply of a service rendered in Québec and thus will be subject to both the 5 % GST and the 9.975% QST.
 

How are the EHFs set?

EPRA partnered with similar electronics recycling programs in Saskatchewan (SWEEP) and British Columbia (ESABC) to hire an independent third party to perform an analysis of Environmental Handing Fees (EHFs) for regulated end-of-life electronics. As a result of the third party analysis, EHFs were recommended for each program.

Our industry-led programs, not the government, are responsible for setting the EHFs for each program. When setting these fees, our industry had utilized a harmonized methodology to group similar products into categories and set a fee based on the cost of recycling the different products in a particular category. As such, EHFs can be different depending on the product being purchased, as well as from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Fees are generally determined based on industry best practices and other factors including:

  • Total product weight per category
  • Costs of program administration
  • Collection and recycling
  • Product sales and forecasts

The EHFs are not related to the price of a product – it is based solely on the cost of recycling a particular product. The program is designed so the cost of managing one category is not subsidized by the fees paid in another category.

The EHF for each category of products is designed to accurately reflect the true costs of managing these obligated products within the EPRA-Québec Program. It covers collection, transportation, administration and responsible recycling costs directly attributed to that product at the end of its useful life.
 

Can a retailer charge EHFs separately from the price indicated on the product?

No. In accordance with the Regulation, EHFs must be included in the product’s price; they should not be added at the cash register. The retailer may, however, indicate the amount of EHFs included in the product’s price for information purposes. The amount thus indicated must not be higher than the EHFs applicable to that product. See the list of product categories with applicable EHFs.

For more information on how the Regulation is applied or how to display EHFs, please refer to the FAQ (available in French only) available on the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change’s website at www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/matieres/reglement/recup-valor-entrepr/faq.htm.
 

Am I charged a fee when I buy used and refurbished electronics?

No. EHF is only charged on new electronics.

 

If the item purchased is returned, will the EHF charged be reimbursed?

While the handling of fees at the point of sale is determined by retailers, a retailer should refund any fee that was applied at the point of purchase if that product is returned. If an item is exchanged for a similar product (of the same category – see the list of product categories with applicable EHFs), there is no additional fee charged.
 

What if I exchange an item – say a laptop for a cell phone – what fee is applied?

The retailer should refund any fee that was applied at the point of purchase for a particular item, and charge the appropriate EHF for the item being purchased.
 


Processing Electronic Products

What happens to products that are collected?

EPRA-Québec established a network of authorized drop-off points throughout Québec to provide the public with a responsible option for disposing of their old electronics.

EPRA-Québec takes charge of all electronics collected at authorized drop-off points and redirects them to companies that are approved and in compliance with Canadian standards, to be recycled safely, securely and responsibly.

The handling of end-of-life electronics follows an audited and approved process from reception of materials to their final processing (i.e. from the primary recycler through to all processors downstream). Once the products are dismantled, their component materials such as metals, plastics and glass, are sorted, recovered, processed and reused to manufacture new products, therefore preserving non-renewable natural resources.

Thanks to EPRA-Québec’s program, Quebecers have peace of mind, knowing that end-of-life electronics will not be sent to landfill sites or illegally exported to developing countries, but rather recycled in an environmentally respectful way that also minimizes risks to health and occupational safety.

To learn more, watch our video Where Does It All Go?

Data Confidentiality

What about data confidentiality?

All electronic items collected by EPRA-Québec’s network of authorized drop-off points are directed for reuse, refurbishing or recycling in a secure and environmentally responsible way by companies that have been approved by the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO). These companies have implemented processes that meet Canadian recycling standards to effectively destroy data storage devices or the data they contain.

Nevertheless, consumers and businesses are responsible for ensuring that all personal data is removed from their electronic devices prior to bringing them to an authorized drop-off point.

To learn how:

  • Go to manufacturers’ websites or read user manuals.
  • Download appropriate software from the Internet.
  • Ask an expert.

EPRA-Québec does not accept liability for data or any other digital content that is left on electronic products collected at its authorized drop-off points.