Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians paying more to recycle old electronics

Nova Scotians in the market for a new TV, printer or cellphone will have to pay more this year because it's costing more to recycle those products.

EPRA raised fees on new devices last month due to higher fuel, labour costs

Nova Scotia's electronic recycling program raised the environmental handling fees for 2017 after lowering them in 2015. (Getty Images)

Nova Scotians in the market for a new TV, printer or laptop will have to pay more this year because the cost to recycle those products when they're no longer needed is on the rise. 

All new electronics in the province come with an environmental handling fee, which people pay up front to cover the cost of recycling devices down the road, whether or not they ever drop something off at a recycling depot. 

The fees are set by the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA). According to the non-profit organization's executive director, last month's increase was the first since the association started in 2008. 

"Since that time, obviously labour costs have gone up, fuel for transportation has gone up, communication costs," Gerard MacLellan told CBC's Information Morning

"So there's been a number of cost increases and pressures that we've had over the last nine years."

Up to retailers to tell consumers 

MacLellan said the fees are typically reviewed every year, and in 2015, the association lowered the cost for the consumer.

Last month's fee increases vary depending on what you buy, and aren't tied to the cost of the device. For example, a pair of $1.25 headphones or $500 headphones have the same 75-cent fee, up from 40 cents. 

  • The environmental fee for a desktop computer rose to $4.50 from $2.25.
  • A portable computer rose to $2.50 from $1.20.
  • A 46" TV rose to $40 from $35.
  • A printer rose to $4.80 from $4. 

The provincial Environment Department says it has no part in determining these fees and it's up to industry to pay for the recycling program.

The current fees are listed on EPRA's website, but MacLellan said it's not the association's job to directly let consumers know about potential fee increases. 

"We leave that with the retailers. They're the main interface with the consumers," he said. 

40,000 tonnes of e-waste

EPRA is one of nine provincially-approved programs across the country that collects old electronic devices and makes sure they end up with recycling companies that can give them a new life.

These companies dismantle, separate and recover any recyclable material, which is then sold and made into new products.

People can drop off their old electronics for free at one of 69 recycling depots

MacLellan said nine years and roughly 40,000 tonnes into the program, most Nova Scotians know why they're paying an extra fee when they purchase a new computer or TV. 

With files from CBC's Information Morning