Retailer FAQ

The majority of Ontarians believe improper disposal of electronic waste is a concern. As a retailer, you may be the first point of contact for customers looking for the nearest location to drop off their used electronic products or asking other questions about EHF or the OES program. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Retailers and their role at OES.

The program is funded by the manufacturers, first importers and/or producers of designated electronic equipment – also known as “stewards”. Each steward files a monthly report and pays fees to OES that cover the full costs of the electronic waste diversion program.

OES does not tell the stewards or retailers that remit fees on the designated products how to manage these costs. Some of these companies may internalize the cost or build the cost into the products they sell. Some may show the fee for recycling on POS or in-store signage, while others may charge consumers the fee at the register with appropriate notice prior to sale of new products. It is up to the individual producers and their supply chain, including retailers, to make the best decisions for how they manage their costs and communicate any fees.

The fee is for the cost of recycling out-of-use electronics in Ontario; both new and old. Older products produced by companies that are no longer in business still need to be recycled, and never collected a fee. The EHF paid on the purchase of a particular item reflects the actual cost to recycle material items in its product category. It is also not a refundable deposit.

The fee is known by electronics industry producers as an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF), and if a steward or retailer chooses to pass the fee along, it is collected from the consumer on the purchase of new electronics in Ontario and most provinces across the country. EHF cover the cost of recycling out-of-use electronics in Ontario; both new and old. Monies collected do not go to the government, therefore, EHF are not a tax, and should not be communicated as such.

EHF collected do not go to government, therefore, EHF are not a tax. Ontario Electronic Stewardship is a non-profit organization governed by the electronics industry, charged with the responsibility of ensuring effective reuse and recycling of end-of-life electronics and diverting electronic waste (or e-waste) from Ontario’s landfill. Any questions on taxation should be directed to the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Effective May 1st, 2013, the program adopted a cost recovery model based on direction from the Ontario Minister of the Environment. That means fees paid to OES by stewards or retailers go towards covering actual program costs. As a non-profit organization, OES is charged with diverting e-waste from landfill, doing so in a safe, regulated and environmentally sound manner, and as efficiently and effectively as possible. Program costs for end-of-life electronics management include: financial incentives, collection, transportation, and processing (or recycling). Funds are also used to administer the program, public education, research and development, and continuous improvements. OES audited financial statements may be found on

Ontarians are increasingly responding to public outreach campaigns and doing the right thing: recycling their out-of-use electronics safely and responsibly. The vast majority are concerned about improper disposal of electronics and the sensitive data or information they may contain. The demand is increasing, as is the amount of out-of-use electronics. OES continually monitors operating costs and assesses/adjusts fees annually based on actual costs. Based on the new model of actual costs, and after consulting with regulators and electronics industry producers, OES revises the steward fees and some fees may go up, while others may go down. When steward fees do change, OES gives ample and frequent notice to stewards and retailers to allow for programming of systems, training of staff, and planning fee communications to their customers.

Environmental handling fees on electronic product categories reflect the actual total program cost to manage those particular category out-of-use electronic items and do not relate to the cost to purchase. Size, weight and the amount of e-waste diverted from landfill for recycling are just some the variables that impact the environmental handling fee. For example, a smart phone is less expensive than an office photocopier. Some items contain more or fewer recyclable components.

You may ask your manager how best to answer this question within your company or organization. For the complete list of current fees charged to stewards or retailers by OES, these may be found on this brochure, or at

No. Any EHF charged at the time of purchase should not exceed the OES steward fee for that item. Consumers have recourse to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services if they believe they may have been charged an inappropriate fee.

Yes. If charged at point of sale, a retailer should refund any EHF that were applied if that product is returned.

No. EHF are only charged on new electronic items.

The retailer should refund any fee that was applied at the point of purchase for a particular item, and charge the appropriate EHF for the item being purchased.

Yes. The public knows our program as It is also a searchable website, with frequently asked questions (FAQ) and a drop-off location search tool. We have posted a downloadable EHF brochure, in English and French, available at that you may make available to the public. Or your organization may order a supply of these in the Retailer section of Your organization may also include a link on your web site or materials to as well as the EHF brochure.

Retailers may: host special collection events; become OES-approved collectors and benefit from receiving promotion and logistical support for their efforts, as well as a collection incentive for the materials they collect, OR; participate as generators, collecting some or all OES materials through their relationship with an OES-approved processor.

A prospective collector has two options: contract with OES as an OES-approved collection site (designated as an OES Service Provider) or become a generator site (designated as an OES Generator) associated with an OES-approved primary processor. Both options must meet appropriate site standards.

An OES Service Provider contracts directly with OES and receives direct support from OES. An OES Generator contracts with an OES-approved primary processor and receives support from the processor.

If you partner directly with OES, we will pick up a minimum of six skids of end-of-life electronics at a time. Six skids require a space equivalent to about 100 square feet of floor space.

No. Ontarians who bring their unwanted electronics to an OES collection site or event, or generator, do so free of charge. OES pays a financial incentive to OES-approved collectors for the end-of-life electronics collected at published rates. OES pays financial incentives to OES-approved processors for end-of-electronics generated through them.

OES collectors can request pickups online and generally receive service within three to five business days.

OES-approved collection sites receive a weight-based financial incentive of $150 to $235/tonne based on collection set-up for the designated materials that they receive, sort and prepare for transport by an OES service provider.

OES offers collection incentives, OES Service Provider promotion and education material, and logistics assistance with collection events.

OES and its approved processors ensure that electronics collected in Ontario are recycled safely and securely, and in an environmentally appropriate manner, right here in Ontario.

OES-approved recyclers, or processors, have to meet the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS), a national electronics industry standard for protection of the environment, and their compliance in the Electronics Recycling Program ( is confirmed by the Recycler Qualification Office which is operated by EPRA (Electronic Products Recycling Association)