Province wants to divert more electronics from landfill with recycling expansion plan

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Electric vehicle (EV) batteries, solar panels and e-cigarettes are among the products to become eligible for recycling in B.C. as part of the provincial government’s five-year plan to expand recycling.

EV chargers, more types of lithium-ion batteries, fire extinguishers, single-use fuel canisters and mattresses will also be added to B.C.’s recycling regulation and extended producer responsibility (EPR) strategy, according to a media release from the province.

“Expanding the number of recyclable products will mean convenient, free collection of those products and a cleaner environment for British Columbians,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy. 

“Adding to the product list will reduce the waste that’s now being sent to the landfill or illegally dumped in back alleys or green spaces. This will protect our environment and boost our economy through an increase in recycling operations and re-manufacturing.”

The changes will be phased in to give producers time to set up the necessary systems, according to the province.

EPR requires producers to take responsibility for the lifecycle of their products, including collection and recycling. The strategy shifts costs and responsibility from local and Indigenous governments and taxpayers to the producers and consumers of products, according to the province. Since 2004, B.C. has regulated residential packaging and paper, beverage containers, numerous electronics, light bulbs, tires, automotive oil, antifreeze and paint through EPR.

The ministry also plans to explore how to regulate the recycling of more packaging and paper products beyond residential sources, such as from businesses, stadiums, shopping malls and universities, according to the release.

The province said its EPR strategy recovers $46 million worth of materials annually and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The strategy generates an estimated $500 million annually through recycling programs and collects about 315,000 tonnes of plastic from bottles, packaging and electronics.

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