This study highlights the economic and environmental challenges of recycling in Ontario, specifically examining the effect of attempting to increase the emissions target for the province’s Waste Electronics (WEEE) program. The findings from the cost model analysis found that Ontario’s Electronic Stewardship program reduces overall carbon emissions by approximately 205 thousand tonnes every year. This study also found that targeting specific materials for recovery could result in a scenario where the province could improve emissions offsets while reducing material management costs. Under our modeled scenario, as the tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) avoided increases, the system cost per tonne of GHG avoided initially declines. However, after avoiding 215 thousand tonnes of GHGs (the optimal point), the system cost/tonne GHG avoided increases. To achieve an emissions target in excess of 215 thousand tonnes, the province will have to have to start recycling higher cost difficult to recycle materials (display monitors, computer peripherals, etc.
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