Understanding the Program

Who are you people, anyway?

Good question! The simple answer is that we are a compliance vehicle for companies that are obligated under Canadian provincial recycling laws.

That means it’s our job to handle the day-to-day requirements of recycling designated end-of-life (broken or unwanted) small appliances on behalf of our members, the parties obligated by the recycling regulations.

The day-to-day business of recycling includes setting up and maintaining a convenient, easily accessible collection network for recyclable products, organizing a safe and effective transportation method for the products we collect in that network, processing the recyclable products we collect so the materials they contain can be reused in other products, educating people about the existence of our program, and a whole lot more.

Our Structure

CESA is a federally-incorporated, not-for-profit organization led by the very industry whose products are captured under what’s called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations.

EPR is a relatively new model for recycling in which the onus for end-of-life product management is placed squarely on the shoulders of those who manufacture, import for the first time, distribute or sell designated products. We get into the minutiae of who is responsible for what in our Am I a Steward? section.

On behalf of our membership (those same manufacturers, importers, distributors or sellers mentioned above), we develop recycling programs to manage end-of-life products. We do this in response to provincial regulations.

Currently, CESA operates one program in Canada: ElectroRecycle, British Columbia’s small appliance and power tool recycling solution. More than 300 products are managed under the ElectroRecycle program.

While it is not our mandate to lobby for new regulations in other jurisdictions, we nevertheless remain proactive in our engagement with regulators so that the voice of our membership is heard when new programs are being discussed.

At the end of the day, we want to make life simple for our members and for the users of our recycling program. We feel it’s better to have a say in new regulations as they’re being planned, rather than offer commentary after they’ve been enacted!

How it all came to be, or The Story of CESA

In 2004, the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment enacted the Recycling Regulation under the authority of the Environmental Management Act. Since then, the Regulation has been periodically expanded to mandate the responsible end-of-life management of various new products.

In 2011, small household electrical appliances were added to the list of products captured under the Regulation.

Now, imagine if every manufacturer, importer, distributor or seller of small household appliances had to create and manage their own recycling program in order to comply with the Regulation. It would be extremely onerous, costly, time-consuming, and inefficient.

Instead of trying to go it alone, members of the small household appliance industry came together and formed the not-for-profit Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA) and tasked them with meeting the specific mandates of the Regulation on their behalf.

CESA was incorporated in 2010. As of 2015, CESA has over 450 members drawn from various sectors of the small household appliance industry.