Stewardship Ontario acts to increase transparency, accuracy, consistency of
eco fees

TORONTO, July 19 /CNW/ - Stewardship Ontario (SO) announced today that it will proceed with a plan to increase the accuracy, transparency and consistency of eco fees at point of sale. With the approval of Waste Diversion Ontario, its oversight body, Stewardship Ontario would require companies that make or import products to provide product-related eco fee information to Stewardship Ontario so that it can be validated and displayed for consumers in a searchable database on the SO website.

This will impact all of the products in the Municipal Household or Special Waste (MHSW) program including cleaners, flammable liquids, fluorescent bulbs, paints, batteries and aerosols.

Every day in Ontario we purchase thousands of safe and useful products that have one thing in common: they require special handling at the end of their useful life. Stewardship Ontario, on behalf of industry, launched the MHSW program to make a positive impact on the environment by ensuring that these products are properly managed when we are done with them. Consumers have raised concerns about the "eco fees" they have been charged when buying these products.

"We have heard from consumers loud and clear," said Gemma Zecchini, Chief Executive Officer of Stewardship Ontario. "Our focus has been on explaining the importance of safely recycling the materials in our program and what consumers need to do to keep them out of landfill and waterways. In retrospect, consumers clearly were looking for information on how eco fees work and we will initiate efforts to help them understand that."

"Implementing prior disclosure rules for eco fees will provide consumers the transparency and accuracy that they are seeking," says Gemma Zecchini, Chief Executive Officer of Stewardship Ontario.

Stewardship Ontario collects fees from stewards (the businesses that introduce obligated products into the marketplace). Stewards may incorporate the fee into the price of the product or can choose to pass the fee on visibly at the point of sale. "The key is to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices," Zecchini said.

In addition, Stewardship Ontario will be working with stewards and retailers on a comprehensive plan to better inform consumers of how eco fees are used to finance programs that ensure that these materials do not make their way into our landfills and waterways.

All Ontarians can be proud of what they have achieved when it comes to waste diversion and recycling. The recycling rate for paper and packaging has increased from 46% in 2003 to 66% in 2008. Last year, the Orange Drop program diverted over 18 million kilograms of waste from landfills and waterways and is on target to divert some 27 million kilograms under the new program launched July 1. The program has also relieved general taxpayers of $500 million in costs for recycling and proper disposal.

    
    About Stewardship Ontario:
    --------------------------
    

Stewardship Ontario is an independent, industry-funded and managed organization mandated under the Waste Diversion Act. It operates two waste diversion programs in Ontario - the Blue Box program, which provides municipalities with funding to support the residential recycling of paper and packaging; and the Orange Drop program (MHSW), targeting the collection and recovery of hazardous and special waste materials through municipal depots and special drop-off events. Stewardship Ontario is not a government agency, and reports to a board of directors made up of representatives from the retail and consumer products industry.

None of Stewardship Ontario's operating funding comes from taxpayers. In 2009 alone, Stewardship Ontario transferred to municipalities over $100 million from companies that manufacture and import obligated materials in order to offset the costs of recycling. Stewardship Ontario receives no taxpayer funds whatsoever for its operations.

SOURCE Stewardship Ontario

For further information: For further information: on Stewardship Ontario programs or advertising campaign, please visit http://makethedrop.ca/content/media-campaign or contact: Amanda Harper Sevonty, Director Marketing and Communications, Stewardship Ontario, Office 416-323-0101 Ext 161, Mobile: 647-248-6787, Email: AHarper-Sevonty@stewardshipontario.ca

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