Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


The volume, composition and management of solid waste generated by households, governments, the commercial sector, and industry have all changed dramatically over the past century. Household waste contained mainly organic material a hundred years ago. Today, both residential and commercial waste is a complex mix of organics, plastics, paper products, metals and a variety of toxic material. Historically, individual households looked after their own waste, through efforts such as composting and burning. Over the past century, with significant increases in volume of waste generated, municipalities have taken over primary responsibility for solid waste management, initially mainly for aesthetic and sanitary reasons. Environmental considerations only relatively recently factored into waste management strategies, particularly in North America. This article explores the implications of a growing component of waste generated in Canada, waste from electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and cell phones.