News Release Article from  Public Works and Government Services Canada

Archived - Ottawa Takes Important Step in Managing its Electronic Waste

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GATINEAU, Quebec, February 22, 2010 – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced that the Government of Canada has introduced new measures for the environmentally sound recycling of federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment that has reached its end of life, thereby supporting the e-waste recycling industry in Canada.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that its electronic waste is disposed of in a safe, secure and cost-effective manner,” said Minister Ambrose. “The government takes this issue very seriously. A key element of the government’s greening operations agenda is the implementation of a strategy to ensure federal e-waste is being disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.”

The Government of Canada has established a standing offer for an initial two-year period with an optional extension of one year. It is expected that up to 2,000 tonnes of e-waste will be recycled through the standing offer on an annual basis. The standing offer covers all electronic and electrical equipment that is not suitable for re-use by Computers for Schools, re-sale through Crown Assets or that cannot be recycled through existing provincial recycling programs. Equipment includes a wide range of equipment from IT, audio-visual and laboratory equipment to appliances and electric tools.

This method of supply was developed following consultations with other government departments, provincial recycling programs, and industry associations. As part of federal efforts to support Canada’s environmental industry, the Government of Canada will continue to consult with recyclers to ensure that future solicitations further promote the development of this emerging industry.

“Disposal of electronic waste is an issue that affects everyone, including private citizens, small and large companies, and all levels of government,” said Minister Ambrose. “Through this initiative, the federal government is taking a proactive approach to the environmental impact of its operations and is encouraging growth and increased environmental accountability within the Canadian electronic waste recycling industry.”

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For further information please contact:

Chris Hilton
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
613-697-7324
Email: Chris.Hilton@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Works and Government Services Canada
819-956-2315

PWGSC news releases are also available on our Internet site at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html.

Background

Recycling of Surplus Federal Electronic and Electrical Equipment

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has put in place measures to ensure that all federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment that has reached its end-of-life is managed in a secure and safe way that minimizes risk to the environment and human health, and maximizes the recovery of valuable natural resources.

What the Government of Canada Currently Does with Surplus Electronic and Electrical Equipment

The federal government currently offers right of first refusal on surplus computer-related equipment to the Computers for Schools program. Otherwise, departments may donate federal surplus electronic assets to other organizations, or resell them through PWGSC’s Crown Assets Distribution when re-use is clearly possible. Federal departments also use provincial recycling programs for qualifying equipment, in provinces where programs are available.

The federal government now has a transparent and constructive mechanism for electronic waste recycling that addresses the disposal of surplus electronic and electrical equipment for which there is no possibility of re-use and that cannot be disposed of through existing mechanisms.

Some of the Expected Benefits of the Standing Offer

Anticipated benefits include:

  • the reduction of waste through recycling, sound management of toxics and the protection of land and water from contamination;
  • greater coherence and consistency across government regarding appropriate use of disposal mechanisms for surplus electronic and electrical equipment;
  • increased confidence that federal e-waste is being disposed of in an environmentally sound manner;
  • efficient management of e-waste and minimized overall cost;
  • improved understanding of the volume of federal e-waste and opportunities for reduction through better planning, acquisition and use practices; and,
  • supportive of provincial e-waste recycling programs and the development of the e-waste recycling industry in Canada.

Next Steps

The standing offer is available for use by PWGSC to support federal departments and agencies across Canada. Guidelines for its use are available at: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ecologisation-greening/dechets-waste/index-eng.html.

The Offeror was subjected to a comprehensive, third party Quality Assurance Audit prior to the issuance of a Standing Offer and will be required to pass periodic environmental audits throughout the duration of the standing offer.

PWGSC will hold ongoing consultations with suppliers, industry associations and provincial recycling programs to ensure that future solicitations continue to respond to the evolving state of the e-waste recycling industry. For example, the evolution of recycling standards could impact the definition of future requirements.


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