New green fees tacked to tech purchases

New fees for electronics purchased in Quebec stores will come into effect on Monday.

The new recycling fees of $40 or more will be applied to bills when purchasing televisions, cellphones, laptop computers and printers. The fee will vary based on the product's price and its difficulty for recycling.

This charge will be used to finance a new recycling system throughout Quebec.

Merchants were made aware of the fees, but consumers were mostly kept in the dark regarding these new measures. Some stores have recently been handing out pamphlets to explain the new tax.

Mel Fruitman, vice-president of the Consumers' Association of Canada, said companies should focus on "reducing" the amount of materials they use to manufacture products and that the tax should be put on the merchandiser not the buyer.

"Rather than taxing the consumer, any system that's put in place should try to force the producer, i.e. the polluter, to pay for what it is that they produce that is polluting the environment and causing them to reduce that pollutant and hence reduce their cost," said Fruitman.

He added that systems that tax consumers fail to reduce the use of pollutants since manufacturers continue to produce merchandise without paying attention to the quantity of materials used in building the product.

Other products like stereo systems and gaming consoles will be affected by the charge in July 2013.