A recent contractual dispute between Call2Recycle Canada Inc. (Call2Recycle), a producer responsibility organization (PRO) operating a battery collection and recycling system in Ontario on behalf of its battery producer clients, and Raw Materials Company Inc. (RMC), an Ontario-based battery processor, has resulted in a significant reduction of used battery collection sites in Ontario.
While the contractual dispute itself between Call2Recycle and RMC is a private business matter outside the purview of O. Reg. 30/20 (the Batteries Regulation), the impact of the dispute on the used battery collection system is not.
RPRA’s Compliance and Enforcement Team is currently reviewing battery producers’ compliance with the Batteries Regulation, including but not limited to the following requirements outlined in Part III (Collection of Batteries), s. 8-11 and Part IV (Management of Batteries), s. 14:
- Establish a Public Collection System
- The number of sites required in each municipality in the Public Collection System is determined based on population requirements. The Battery Collection Systems Compliance Bulletin identifies the total number of sites in each municipality required under the regulation.
- The regulation also allows the number of required sites to be reduced by offering curbside collection, direct collection programs or collection events.
- The regulation does not require every community to have a collection site, as battery producers are permitted to replace up to 25 per cent of Ontario’s sites with four-hour collection events.
- Operate the Public Collection System
- The obligation to service a Public Collection System must continue even if the system produces more batteries than is necessary to meet a producer’s minimum management requirement.
- The Public Collection System must accept all batteries, including batteries previously sold with other products.
- Operating a collection system means that when a battery producer closes a collection site, they must recover the remaining batteries. Battery producers cannot strand batteries at a collection site in the Public Collection System.
- Process the Batteries Collected
- Batteries collected through the Public Collection System must be processed by a registered battery processor within three months of being collected by a hauler.
- All batteries collected must be processed by a registered processor that meets the Recycling Efficiency Rates (RER) in the regulation. Registered processors are required to submit a third-party audit to RPRA confirming their RERs by April 30 of this year. Battery producers cannot send batteries to processors that do not meet the RER requirements in the regulation.
The “best efforts” standard referenced in the Batteries Regulation applies only to the minimum management requirements and is a legally enforceable standard requiring battery producers to, acting in good faith, take all reasonable steps to meet the requirements.
As part of the inspection of producer and PRO compliance with O. Reg. 30/20, the Registrar has assembled a team of senior inspectors led by the Manager of Compliance and Enforcement who are currently, among other things:
- Confirming that the required number of sites remain operational,
- Confirming that all batteries from any closed sites are not stranded and are processed within 3 months of being collected, and
- Reviewing all documentation related to any audits or reviews of service providers, including the full results of any third-party audits.
Under Part V (Enforcement) of the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA), obligated parties in breach of the requirements outlined in the Batteries Regulation may be subject to:
- Compliance orders
- Fines, including recovering any economic benefit that resulted in the non-compliance, once the Administrative Penalties Regulation proposed under the RRCEA is finalized
Any orders issued related to this matter will be publicly disclosed, as per the RRCEA, on the Authority’s website. A follow up statement will be issued at the conclusion of the inspection.