Q: What is Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)?
A: 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.
Q: What is EPRA-Québec?
A: 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.
Q: Is EPRA-Québec a government organization?
A: 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.
Q: Why manage end-of-life electronics?
A: 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.
Q: Why does Québec need a diversion program for waste electronics?
A: 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.
Q: Isn’t it important to reuse before recycling?
A: 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)
Q: How are the Environmental Handling Fees (EHFs) for products determined?
A: EHFs for all EPRA industry-led electronic recycling programs in Canada are determined by a consistent methodology analyzing the costs to collect, transport and responsibly recycle end-of-life electronics.
Q: How is the program funded?
A: 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.
Q: Is the EHF a tax?
A: 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.
Q: Is the EHF taxable?
A: 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.
Q: Can a retailer charge EHFs separately from the price indicated on the product?
A: 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.
Q: Am I charged a fee when I buy used and refurbished electronics?
A: No. EHF is only charged on new electronics.
Q: If the item purchased is returned, will the EHF charged be reimbursed?
A: 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.
Q: What if I exchange an item – say a laptop for a cell phone – what fee is applied?
A: 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.
Products Accepted by the Program
Q: Are audio cassettes, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs and diskettes accepted at authorized drop-off points?
Processing Electronic Products
Q: What happens to products that are collected?
A: 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?
Q: What about data confidentiality?
A: 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.