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USA and Canada e-waste product scope and challenges to manufacturer compliance

May 21st, 2019

No Federal e-waste laws but State and Province-wide e-waste regulations in force

Whilst we continue to see no electronic waste (e-waste) legislation in place at a Federal level in both the USA and Canada, there are now 25 US States and 12 Canadian Provinces and Territories which have implemented their own regulations covering the collection and recycling of electronic products at end-of-life. And these local regulations are being updated all the time which are gradually bringing even more product types into scope. For example, in 2018:

  • California proposed to amend e-waste regulations to mirror the EU
  • Ontario and Yukon amended their regulations to include new producer responsibility obligations; and,
  • Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia expanded the scope of products which are covered by their regulations. 

Furthermore, whilst US State and Canadian Province and Territory e-waste regulations cover a smaller scope of products when compared to the European WEEE Directive (for example, many US States e-waste regulations cover only consumer-use televisions, monitors, PCs and IT peripherals), manufacturers should note that 23 of the 25 US States and all 12 of the Canadian Provinces and Territories place responsibility for financing the collection and recycling of the products at end-of-life on the ‘producer’ of the products under the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). 

What challenges will your company face to achieve regulatory compliance?

If you, as the manufacturer, are classed as the e-waste producer:

  • You must identify the US State and Canadian Provincial and Territorial regulations which are currently in place. This needs to be done at a State-by-State level in the US and at a Provincial level in Canada respectively.
  • Once you have identified any applicable e-waste regulations, you must then determine whether you are obligated under these regulations. Do your products fall in-scope of the e-waste regulations in particular US States and Canadian Provinces and Territories?
  • What about your sales arrangements in each US State and Canadian Province and Territory? For example, do you have a physical presence (such as a sales office) in a particular State or Province? Are your products only sold via retailers in a particular State or Province? Do you use a web-store to sell your products? Different US States and Canadian Provinces and Territories place different obligations on the manufacturer depending on how their products are being sold.
  • Have you considered new e-waste legislation being introduced or amended in US States and Canadian Provinces and Territories? For example, in 2018 in the US, 194 bills on environmental protection featured in the 115th Congress. Of those, one was signed into law and four were voted on in at least one chamber of Congress.

OK. So I'm obligated as the e-waste producer in USA and Canada. What do I need to do to comply?

You will have a number of actions you must take in order to comply as an e-waste 'producer' in any State or Province / Territory, including:

  • Registering your company and your products with the appropriate regulatory authority in that particular US State or Canadian Province / Territory. This may also include paying a registration fee which in the US in particular, can be many thousands of dollars per year
  • Submitting a waste management programme to the regulator which must detail how it will provide for e-waste collection and recycling.
  • Reporting equipment sales data in that particular State or Province / Territory in the correct format and by the required deadline
  • Paying for the collection, transport and recycling of the e-waste in accordance with available arrangements in that State (you may have to join a State-run recycling programme or join a local collective compliance scheme)
  • Meeting collection targets for the types of products that your company sells in that State or Province / Territory
  • Providing certain recycling information to the end-user (such as the environmental impact of not correctly recycling the e-waste) 

Want to know more?

Leading on from EC4P's well-received webinar with Chemical Watch on 8th May Are your products in scope of USA and Canada e-waste regulations?  EC4P will be running a follow-on free webinar 10:00am (US EST) on 5th June 2019 on how to comply with e-waste, batteries and packaging recycling regulations around the world.

During the follow-on webinar on 5th June, EC4P Directors Howard Stimpson and James Pearson will:

  • Explain how companies rely on EC4P’s recycling compliance services to assess their legal compliance obligations in USA, Canada and around the world and manage product registrations in these countries
  • Demonstrate how EC4P’s managed global compliance services can guarantee your compliance to e-waste, Batteries and Packaging recycling regulations in the USA, Canada and around the world through our unique, award-winning compliance platform, Environmental Compliance 4 Products (www.ec4p.com)

You can register for the 5th June webinar here 

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