Guideline for the Disposal of Federal Surplus Electronic and Electrical Equipment

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose

This Guideline is directed at federal departments and agencies and is intended to:

  • explain how federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment should be disposed of in a manner that maximizes value to the Crown and ensures disposal in an environmentally sustainable manner, in accordance with the requirements of the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel and the Policy on Government Security;
  • provide practical guidance on the availability, selection and use of appropriate disposal mechanisms for surplus federal electronic and electrical equipment; and
  • identify key roles and responsibilities for federal departments and agencies as they relate to the disposal of surplus electronic and electrical equipment.

1.2 Scope

The information provided in this guideline addresses the environmentally sound disposal of all federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment. It is directed at federal government officials in a broad range of functions, including materiel management, asset management, project/program management, information technology services, security and related oversight positions.

For the purpose of this Guideline, disposal refers to the process by which federal departments and agencies prepare electronic and electrical equipment for reuse or recycling.

1.3 Background

The Government of Canada disposes of a broad range of electronic and electrical equipment. For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, federal government spending in this area was estimated to be $1.2B and included computer, laboratory, medical, security, telecom, audio-visual, and office equipmentFootnote 1. In North America, e-waste is the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream while worldwide, 20 to 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste are discarded each yearFootnote 2. Hazardous substances contained within e-waste pose a significant threat to human health and the environment when improperly managed. This issue has gained prominence as global volumes of e-waste generated are increasing annually and as the impacts of uncontrolled disposal of e-waste become more apparent.

The federal e-waste strategy was launched in February 2010 by Public Works and Government Services Canada to address the environmentally sound and secure disposal of all surplus federal electronic and electrical equipment. The strategy was put in place to ensure that federal e-waste does not contribute to the global issue of improper e-waste disposal and the associated negative impacts on human health, environment and information security. The strategy emphasizes reuse first, leverages existing disposal mechanisms and recognizes industry initiatives. This Guideline was developed to articulate the federal e-waste strategy and direct the appropriate execution of the e-waste disposal process in a manner consistent with the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel and the Policy on Government Security.

2.0 E-waste and Environmentally Sound Management

2.1 Definition of E-waste

The Government of Canada defines e-waste as ‘surplus electronic and electrical equipment that is not suitable for reuse'. Electronic and electrical equipment includes ‘any equipment with a plug, battery or that uses electricity to perform its intended function' excluding vehicles and vehicle parts. Annex A - Conforming Materiel, contains a list of items that are typically considered e-waste when deemed unsuitable for reuse. Annex B - Non-Conforming Materiel specifies the conditions under which e-waste cannot be directed for recycling.

2.2 Environmentally Sound Management

The principle of environmentally sound management has been applied throughout the disposal process outlined in this guideline. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes or other wastes means “taking all practicable steps to ensure that hazardous wastes or other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes.Footnote 3" This approach helps to protect the environment and human health while leading to economic benefit through resource recovery.

In the context of this guideline, reuse is preferred whenever possible; electronic and electrical equipment that is deemed surplus but still functional may be useful in other settings or applications. Reuse extends the useful life of an asset, maximizing its overall value and delaying the consumption of raw materials and energy to produce new assets. Where product or component reuse is not possible, recycling electronic and electrical equipment according to the principle of environmentally sound management by a certifiedFootnote 4 recycler is the next best option.

3.0 Roles and Responsibilities

3.1 Program Administration and Oversight

3.1.1 Public Works and Government Services Canada

As the policy lead on greening government operations, Public Works and Government Services Canada committed in 2009 to establish a government-wide strategy for the environmentally sound, secure and cost-effective management of federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment.

3.1.2 Office of Greening Government Operations, Corporate Services and Strategic Policy Branch

Public Works and Government Services Canada's Office of Greening Government Operations (OGGO) has a mandate to support greening the governments operations by working closely with other federal departments and agencies, particularly Treasury Board Secretariat and Environment Canada, and providing guidance and tools to help them reduce their environmental footprint. With regard to e-waste, OGGO provides ongoing policy direction, education, and communications support to federal departments and agencies including periodically updating this Guideline. This includes the associated communications and consultation with government and external stakeholders and liaison with provincial e-waste recycling programs.

3.1.3 Crown Assets Distribution, Acquisitions Branch

Crown Assets Distribution of Public Works and Government Services Canada is the federal government organization responsible for the sale of surplus federal goods. There are eight Crown Assets Distribution Centres located across the country. These centres sell surplus federal assets to Canadians through Crown Assets Distribution's online auction system, GCSurplus, and through contracted suppliers. Crown Assets Distribution no longer sells non-functional electronics unless the asset is deemed to have significant residual value or may be used as a source of parts. Crown Assets Distribution also contributes to the development of Treasury Board policy and advises departments on asset disposal.

3.1.4 Services Technology Acquisitions Management Sector, Acquisitions Branch

The Services Technology Acquisitions Management Sector of Public Works and Government Services is responsible for the establishment, administration, and revision of the standing offer for e-waste recycling services. Their role includes addressing any contracting issues relating to individual call-ups made against the Standing Offer by any Identified User, tracking standing offer utilization and liaising with suppliers as required.

3.2 Policy and Technical Support

3.2.1 Environment Canada

Environment Canada is responsible for coordinating environmental policies and programs for the Government of Canada. The Department continues to actively engage on both domestic and international issues related to the management of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment. This involvement includes, for example, work to support and further strengthen movement controls and measures for environmentally sound management of this equipment.

3.2.2 Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada provides policy and technical advice on the sustainable development and responsible use of Canada's mineral and metal resources both nationally and internationally. Natural Resources Canada's Minerals and Metals Sector tracks scrap metal recycling activities, new facilities and processing technologies, and market-related activities (prices, imports, exports and other trade issues).

3.2.3 Industry Canada

Industry Canada is responsible for the management of federal equipment contributions to the Computers for Schools Program. Computers for Schools extends the useful life of federal computer equipment by facilitating its reuse through refurbishment and donation to Canadian schools, libraries, Aboriginal communities and not-for-profit learning organizations. Industry Canada has also contributed significantly to the development of provincial extended producer responsibility programs for e-waste recycling.

3.2.4 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for providing departments and agencies with the appropriate tools and guidance necessary to support the Treasury Board Policy on Management of Materiel and the Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel. This role is carried out by the Real Property and Materiel Policy Division of the Office of the Comptroller General. In addition, the department provides guidance to support the Policy on Management of Materiel and its associated directives, including the Guide to the Management of Materiel. The department also supports the professional development of the materiel management community.

3.2.5 Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the lead agency for physical security under the Policy on Government Security. It also provides advice, guidance and standards for the secure destruction of information on electronic media that is aligned with Communications Security Establishment of Canada's publications.

3.2.6 Communications Security Establishment Canada

The Communications Security Establishment Canada provides advice, guidance and services to help ensure the protection of electronic information and infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada. The organization is responsible for maintaining ITSG-06: Clearing and Declassifying Electronic Data Storage Devices.

3.3 All Federal Departments and Agencies

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for managing their surplus electronic and electrical equipment in a manner that is consistent with requirements of the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel, the Policy on Government Security and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (where applicable) as well as the environmentally sound management practices described in this Guideline.

Federal departments and agencies are expected to use asset disposal options that maximize reuse and achieve best value for the Crown and must cover the costs of all related materiel management activities including data sanitization, sorting, handling, packaging, transportation, recycling, and administration. Recycling fees may be incurred at time of purchase, in the form of advance disposal fees in provinces with e-waste recycling programs, or incurred at time of disposal.

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for tracking and reporting on the disposal of surplus assets. The tracking systems and materiel management processes used to complete this objective should also be applied to the disposal of all federal surplus electronic and electrical equipment.

4.0 Overview of the Disposal Process for Electronic and Electrical Equipment

Electronic and electrical equipment is considered surplus when it can no longer be used within the federal government. The Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel provides direction related to the identification of appropriate disposal mechanisms for surplus assets. Consistent with the Directive, a step-by-step approach for the selection of the most appropriate disposal mechanism is provided below. Details of actions to be taken for each step are provided subsequently, in Sections 5 to 8, of this Guideline.

4.1 Steps for Selecting a Disposal Mechanism for Surplus Electronic and Electrical Assets

Refer to Figure 1 for a visual depiction of the key steps in the disposal process.

Step 1 – Address Security Requirements

Prior to disposal, federal departments and agencies are responsible for ensuring that electronic and electrical equipment has been sanitized appropriately. All data stored in memory of electronic equipment must be removed. Section 5.0 outlines procedures to properly sanitize data-containing assets prior to disposal.

Step 2 – Identify the Appropriate Disposal Mechanism

Federal assets are considered surplus when they have reached the end of their intended useful life and can no longer be reallocated internally. Departments and agencies are responsible for identifying and accessing the most appropriate disposal mechanism for surplus electronic and electrical equipment in manner that is consistent with the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel. The Directive emphasizes reuse as the preferred method of disposal and requires that departments and agencies offer the right of first refusal to Computers for Schools for IT and related equipmentFootnote 5. Section 6.0 provides a detailed overview of environmentally sound and secure reuse and recycling mechanisms and their appropriate use.

Step 3 – Package for Safe Transportation

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for ensuring that materiel is packaged appropriately to minimize breakage in transit, ensure worker safety, and maximize transportation efficiency. Section 7.0 provides additional details on packaging techniques.

Step 4 – Organize Transportation

Depending on the location of e-waste and the disposal mechanism being used, transportation of e-waste and surplus equipment may be organized directly by departments or provided by the receiver of the materiel. Transportation requirements for each disposal mechanism are provided in Section 8.0 of this Guideline.

Step 5 – Collect Data and Report

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for maintaining records of disposal for all surplus electronic and electrical equipment and e-waste. Section 9.0 of this Guideline provides further details on reporting requirements.

Figure 1: Key steps in the disposal process for surplus electronic and electrical equipment.

Figure 1: Step by step of the disposal process for electronic and electrical equipment. A detailed description of Figure 1 can be found in Section  4.1, see link below

See detailed description of Figure 1 in Section 4.1 Steps for Selecting a Disposal Mechanism for Surplus Electronic and Electrical Assets of the document.

5.0 Step 1 – Addressing Security Requirements

In accordance with the Policy on Government Security, federal departments and agencies are responsible for protecting their assets and information in order to ensure the continued delivery of services that contribute to the health, safety, economic well-being and security of Canadians. To that end, addressing security requirements is the first step in the disposal process for surplus electronic and electrical equipment. As a best practice, departmental IT groups should also establish internal processes to identify and ensure the physical security of equipment that has been sanitized and is awaiting disposal.

5.1 Security and Use of Disposal Mechanisms

All data-containing electronic storage devices that have been sanitized are eligible for disposal via reuse or recycling, provided that they did not contain data beyond the level of Protected B. For the levels Protected C and Confidential or higher, physical destruction or secure disposal is required. Efforts to ensure the environmentally sound recycling of shredded materiel resulting from the secure destruction process should be taken.

The Computers for Schools computer refurbishment process includes an approved process to sanitize data containing equipment received within incoming donations Footnote 6. While this provides an added level of protection for donors of equipment, it does not replace departments' obligation to address security requirements.

Crown Assets currently has a disposal program for wireless handheld devices. Additional information can be found in the Bulletin on Disposal of Wireless Handheld Devices.

5.2 Data Sanitization

Data Sanitization is the process of removing data from a device in order to ensure that it cannot be recovered or reconstructed. ‘Overwriting', also known as ‘wiping' or ‘digital shredding', is a commonly-used data sanitization method' that involves the use of software or hardware to physically write tracks of meaningless data overtop of data that may have existed previously. Overwriting must be undertaken in the manner prescribed by the Communications Security Establishment Canada's guide for ITSG-06: Clearing and Declassifying Electronic Data Storage Devices and other applicable requirements. The use of overwriting, as a standalone sanitization method, applies to functional devices containing information at the Protected B level and below only. Note that overwriting may not be sufficient to address the sensitivity of information containing devices that have been used to store databases of individual records regardless of their security classification. For example, a device containing a collection of individual records classified as Protected B should be treated as Confidential, at a minimum.

5.3 Physical Security

Asset tags and other federal identifiers should be removed once items are decommissioned from asset management and financial systems. This prevents the identification of federal materiel and reduces the likelihood of its theft or loss in transit.

When storing materiel in preparation for disposal, items of value or that are known to contain data must always be stored securely in a designated limited-access area in accordance with the Policy on Government Security. Materiel should never be left unattended on loading docks and should be packaged as described in section 7.0 to further protect against theft or loss.

5.4 Secure Destruction

Secure destruction is required for the disposal of IT media devices containing information that is SECRET, TOP SECRET or PROTECTED C. Devices requiring secure destruction should be wiped/overwritten prior to destruction. Secure destruction is also required for Protected A and B devices that cannot be overwritten (e.g. broken hard drives) or sanitized by other means. Once material has been physically destroyed, the resulting shredded materiel is considered unclassified and should be directed for environmentally sound recycling.

Secure destruction may take place in one of the following ways:

5.4.1 Internal Secure Destruction Services

Secure destruction is performed in a federal facility by authorized personnel with appropriate security clearance using approved equipment that is owned and operated by the federal government.

Shared Services Canada and the Department of National Defence own Royal Canadian Mounted Police approved shredding equipment and are able to provide destruction services to other federal departments and agencies. Shredders are located in the National Capital Region and in Belleville, Ontario. Departments are responsible for costs associated with transporting materiel to these locations as well as any other costs associated with services offered. Departments should also ensure that security requirements related to the transportation of items containing sensitive information are met.

For additional information or to initiate a service request, please contact:

  • Department of National Defence

Departments that own and operate their own shredding equipment should contact Crown Assets Distribution to discuss the potential sale of shredded materiel.

5.4.2 External Destruction Services

Destruction is performed by contractor using equipment at the contractor's facility or a mobile shredding truck and is witnessed by a federal employee with the appropriate security clearance. Both contractors and shredding equipment should be approved by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Public Works and Government Services Canada's Canadian Industrial Security Directorate. Note that only a certificate of destruction, signed by the federal employee designated as the witness, may serve as a valid record that the information has been destroyed when using external destruction services.

Departments may use standard service-based contract templates to develop secure destruction contracts. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Canadian Industrial Security Directorate can advise on clauses related to security upon request. There are several key elements that a service contract should specifically contain:

  • The particle size to which equipment is to be shredded
  • Requirements for witnessed destruction
  • Responsibility for environmentally sound recycling in accordance with this Guideline

6.0 Step 2 – Identifying the Appropriate Disposal Mechanism

Once security considerations have been addressed, surplus electronic and electrical equipment is ready for disposal. At this point, materiel managers must evaluate and sort the materiel to determine the appropriate disposal mechanism – this is referred to as ‘triage'. An effective triage process is one that seeks to maximize reuse prior to considering recycling options. Doing so ensures disposal costs are minimized. Poor triage can result in a doubling of disposal and freight costs as a result of directing materiel to the incorrect disposal mechanism.

6.1 Re-use

Assessing the functionality of surplus electronic and electrical equipment is the responsibility of departments and agencies. Providing intact, functional equipment to Computers for Schools and Crown Assets Distribution ensures maximum reusability, improves the quality of the reuse stream and reduces disposal costs. Key components such as hard drives and memory should not be removed from equipment unless justified by legitimate security concerns as it negatively affects reusability of equipment due to the increased costs to re-establish the functionality of the equipment. In some cases non-functional equipment may be useful to Computers for Schools as a source of parts or sold by Crown Assets Distribution, where the asset has significant residual value.

Some types of equipment are rarely suitable for reuse because of security reasons. For example, items that are known to have contained particularly sensitive information, beyond the levels of Protected B or Confidential as well Blackberries that have been used for PIN-to-PIN are not suitable for reuse.

Re-use options include:

(i) Computers for Schools – In accordance with the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel, right of first refusal for intact computer equipment that meets minimum standards for donation must be offered to Computers for Schools. Donation standards should be consulted regularly for updates as equipment that meets minimum standards for donation cannot be directed to other disposal mechanisms until Computers for Schools exercises its right of first refusal. Online donations can be made via an online form.

(ii) Transfer to Other Federal Departments and Agencies or Charitable Organizations – The Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel and the Policy on Government Security contain specific provisions for the gratuitous transfer of surplus assets to other federal organizations, to organizations in other levels of government in Canada or to charitable organizations when the estimated total costs of disposal (including costs to Crown Assets Distribution) are likely to exceed the proceeds of a sale. Policy regarding the approval and implementation of transfers varies across federal departments and agencies and internal policies should be consulted prior to using this mechanism.

(iii) Crown Assets Distribution – Surplus electronic and electrical equipment, including computer equipment that does not meet Computers for Schools' requirements, may be offered for public sale provided they are deemed reusable and saleable by Crown Assets Distribution. Materiel Managers may offer their assets for public sale by Crown Assets Distribution by submitting a Sale Request through the Crown Assets GCSurplus Client Interface, GCSci. Annex C - Submitting a Sales Request, provides an overview of the submission process. Federal assets are sold from Crown Assets Distribution locations where feasible and departments are responsible for coordination and costs associated with transportation of assets. Where this is not practical or economical, assets are sold from the client department's location and are expected to assist with the disposal process.

Equipment that is deemed unsuitable for public sale should be directed to the appropriate environmentally sound recycling mechanism. Departments and agencies that direct equipment to Crown Assets Distribution despite being advised not to, will be charged any resulting materiel management and administrative costs to manage the materiel properly.

6.2 Recycling

When re-use is not possible, departments and agencies can direct their e-waste for environmentally sound and secure recycling via the following mechanisms:

(iv) Provincial E-waste Recycling Programs – Most provinces in Canada have implemented e-waste recycling programs. Programs are funded by advance disposal fees charged to consumers of designated equipment types at the point of sale. The Government of Canada also pays these fees when it purchases equipment in a province with a recycling program giving departments and agencies the right to access these programs to dispose of qualifying items. To minimize costs, materiel that qualifies for provincial recycling programs should always be disposed of through this mechanism. Each provincial program has a website that contains information on qualifying items, the recycling fee associated with each, procedures for directing materiel to the program and contact information. Visit provincial recycling program websites for additional information on provincial e-waste recycling programs in Canada.

(v) Standing Offer for E-waste Recycling Services – E-waste recycling services are available to all departments and agencies via the Standing Offer for e-waste recycling services. Only items that are unsuitable for reuse and that cannot be directed to a provincial recycling program should be directed to the Standing Offer. This option serves as a ‘last resort' disposal mechanism for the recycling of any e-waste that cannot otherwise be managed. Note, in addition to e-waste recycling services, services related to the coordination of e-waste collection can also be requested (e.g. transportation, packaging, palletization, moving, etc.). A detailed, step-by-step overview of the process to access the Standing Offer for e-waste recycling services is provided in Annex D – Accessing the Standing Offer for E-waste Recycling Services.

7.0 Step 3 – Packaging

7.1 Overview

When disposing of surplus electronic and electrical equipment, federal departments and agencies must ensure that proper packaging methods are used. Proper stacking and wrapping of pallets as well as correctly filling boxes, protects against shifting during transport, environmental damage due to breakage, opportunities for theft and the risk of injury caused by falling items. Equipment that is properly packaged is easy to identify, move, load and is unlikely to be refused by transporters. At no time should federal e-waste be shipped via unsecure bulk transport (e.g. not packaged in any way and loaded directly into trucks).

Packaging items of similar type and size makes it easier to construct stable and well-balanced pallets and boxes. Surplus electronic and electrical equipment is typically grouped by equipment type and packaged as follows:

  • Display Devices:
    • Includes CRT, flat screen or LCD monitors, and televisions
    • Recommended packaging: stacked on a pallet and shrink wrapped or Gaylord/triwall Box
  • Computers:
    • Includes laptops and desktop computers
    • Recommended Packaging: stack on a pallet and shrink wrap or place in Gaylord/tri-wall box on a pallet and shrink wrap
  • Printers:
    • Includes network printers, large size desktop laser printers
    • Recommended Packaging: stack on a pallet and shrink wrap or place in Gaylord/tri-wall box on a pallet and shrink wrap
  • Miscellaneous Small Items:
    • Includes keyboards, mice, computer cables, calculators, phones, cell phones, electric staplers, pencil sharpeners, etc.
    • Recommended Packaging: place in Gaylord/triwall box on a pallet and shrink wrap package small quantities of items in smaller boxes that can be individually loaded for transport
  • Miscellaneous Large Items:
    • Certain large items may require their own pallet e.g. specialty lab equipment, map printers, etc.
    • Recommended packaging: stack on a pallet and shrink wrap

The video, ‘E-waste: Package it Right!' provides a detailed overview on how to properly build and wrap pallets of surplus electronic and electrical equipment to ensure safe storage and transport using various packaging types.

7.2 Palletizing

A pallet is a flat transport structure that can be lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, or pump truck. Pallets are appropriate for packaging televisions, computers, regular monitors, flat screen monitors, laptops and other electronic items with a fixed/defined shape that allows them to be easily stacked on top of one another. Pallets are most easily built when items of similar type and size are placed together. To ensure stability and mobility, pallets should not be built higher than 6'0". Annex E - How to Build a Pallet provides a detailed description on how to build and wrap a pallet.

7.3 Gaylord / Tri-Wall boxes

Gaylord/tri-wall boxes have the same base dimensions as a standard North American shipping pallet and are 36" tall. The empty box is placed on a pallet so that it can be moved with standard warehouse equipment. The boxes are suitable for packaging non-standard or oddly shaped equipment that cannot easily be stacked. Examples include: computer peripherals such as mice, keyboards and speakers, cables, calculators, electric staplers, electric pencil sharpeners, telephones, etc.

7.4 Individual Boxes

Packaging materiel in smaller individual boxes is also acceptable and may be necessary where departments and agencies do not have the capacity to palletize or transport materiel on pallets. Boxes must not be overfilled to the point where they bulge or cannot be properly sealed when closed. Care must be exercised regarding the weight of boxes if they are to be handled manually. The content and destination of boxes should be clearly labeled on the outside of the box. This will enable the identification of items in storage prior to pick-up and transportation of materiel to the correct destination.

7.5 Estimating the Weight of a Pallet Load

Most departments and agencies do not have equipment to weigh palletized e-waste. This poses a challenge as a weight estimate is typically required when making arrangements for transportation or issuing a call-up against the Standing Offer. Annex F - Estimated E-waste Weights, provides estimated weights for palletized e-waste for different types of equipment. If access to equipment to weigh pallets is available, exact weights should be provided.

7.6 Broken Materiel

Depending on the item, broken electronic and electrical equipment is generally considered to be hazardous material when breakage occurs and must be handled accordingly to avoid immediate risks to health and the environment. Display devices, due to their lead or mercury content, pose the greatest risk if breakage occurs. Annex G - Instructions for Broken E-waste, provides detailed instructions for the clean-up, packaging, and transportation of broken e-waste.

8.0 Step 4 – Transportation

Transportation methods vary according to the disposal mechanism being accessed, location, quantity or sensitivity of information contained within materiel. Transportation may be coordinated by the recipient of federal materiel or by the department or agency conducting the disposal. Typically, departments and agencies either have pre-existing arrangements with transportation companies or use Public Works and Government Services Canada's National Master Standing Offers for Freight Services Publiservice Site - accessible to government employees only. In addition, care should also be taken to ensure that security requirements related to the transportation of items containing sensitive information are met. This section outlines specific options for transportation of surplus electronic and electrical equipment to each disposal mechanism.

8.1 Computers for Schools

Computers for Schools is able to collect surplus equipment from many federal facilities. In cases where this is not possible, departments and agencies are responsible for the coordination and cost of transporting equipment. Departments and agencies can contact their local Computers for Schools regional office to determine whether transportation is available.

8.2 Crown Assets Distribution

Federal assets are sold from one of the eight Crown Assets Distribution locations where feasible. Where this is neither practical nor economical, Crown Assets Distribution will sell the surplus goods from the client department location. Transportation options are outlined below:

8.2.1 Ship to a Crown Assets Distribution Centre

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for making arrangements and covering the cost of transportation of materiel to Crown Assets Distribution Centres. The Regional Crown Assets Distribution Centre should be contacted to coordinate the shipment and receipt of materiel.

8.2.2 Auction from Department or Agency's Location

Where Crown Assets Distribution conducts an online auction, via GCSurplus, for an asset sold from a department or agency's location, the winner of the online auction is responsible for all aspects of transportation, packaging and removal of the item(s) within the timeframe outlined in the purchase agreement. The Regional Crown Assets Distribution Centre can provide more information on coordinating onsite auctions.

8.3 Provincial E-waste Recycling Programs

Transportation may be provided at no cost by the provincial program or their recyclers depending on quantities and location of materiel. This information is available on provincial recycling program websites.

Departments and agencies are encouraged, where possible, to send qualifying e-waste directly to provincial program recyclers rather than to collection depots. Direct shipment to recyclers provides greater assurance of timely and complete destruction of material, reducing risk of theft or loss and damage to the environment.

8.4 Standing Offer for E-Waste Recycling Services

There are two transportation options when accessing recycling services through the Standing Offer.

8.4.1 Transportation through the Standing Offer

– In addition to e-waste processing services, departments and agencies may request that Suppliers listed on the e-waste Standing Offer coordinate the collection of e-waste from the facility at which it is located. Departments and agencies may also request that the Supplier coordinate activities such as palletization, packaging and moving in order to facilitate the collection of e-waste. Departments are responsible for all costs associated with these activities however the supplier will not charge an additional administration fee for coordinating these services. For additional information on accessing the Standing Offer, please see Annex D – Accessing the Standing Offer for E-waste Recycling Services.

8.4.2 Other Transportation Arrangements

– Departments may elect to access their own pre-existing transportation arrangements or arrange their own transportation using the Public Works and Government Services National Master Standing Offers for Freight Services Publiservice Site - accessible to government employees only.

9.0 Reporting and Performance Measurement

This section outlines the responsibilities of federal departments and agencies and the special role of the Project Office for e-waste recycling services in reporting on the disposal of surplus electronic and electrical equipment and e-waste. PWGSC anticipates establishing separate guidance for departmental reporting of disposal of surplus electronic and electrical equipment.

9.1 Disposal Records and Reporting

It is the responsibility of federal departments and agencies to maintain an up-to-date asset management and financial system, in order to be able to respond to any reporting requirements regarding the disposal of surplus electronics and electrical equipment (e.g. # units and/or weight).

9.2 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

The federal e-waste disposal strategy, as outlined by this Guideline, is applicable to all federal organizations. In addition, the environmentally sound disposal of e-waste is a key target area in Theme IV of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Departments and agencies that are bound by the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy are required to implement the strategy and report on their progress. Additional information on reporting requirements for participating organizations can be found on the Office of Greening Government Operations' Federal Sustainable Development Strategy sitePubliservice Site - accessible to government employees only.

Annex A –Conforming Materiel

The following list of equipment provides an example of the types of items that would be considered e-waste when deemed unsuitable for reuse.

  • IT Equipment
    • Analog computer
    • Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
    • Bar Code Scanner
    • Calculator
    • CD Rom Drive
    • Compact Discs
    • Computer Disc Drive
    • Computer keyboard
    • Computer mouse
    • Computer terminal
    • Copying equipment
    • Data tapes
    • Data Diskettes
    • Flash Memory Cards
    • Joystick
    • Mainframe Computer
    • Media Storage Devices
    • Microcomputer
    • Minicomputer
    • Monitor (CRT, LCD, Plasma)
    • Desktop computer
    • Personal Computer (handheld, laptop, notebook, notepad)
    • Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
    • Point of Sale (POS) terminal
    • Printer
    • Computer Router
    • Flatbed scanner
    • Typewriter
    • LCD flash drives
  • Telecommunications Equipment
    • Antenna, transmitting or receiving
    • Broadcast Equipment
    • Cable television transmitting or receiving equipment
    • Citizen's Band (CB) radio
    • Closed Circuit Television equipment
    • Fax machine
    • Global Positioning System (GPS)
    • Infrared wireless device
    • Intercom System
    • Local area network (LAN) communication equipment
    • Modem
    • Pager
    • PBX (private branch exchange)
    • Satellite television transmitting or receiving equipment
    • Switching equipment
    • Telephone (cellular, cordless, wire line)
    • Telephone answering machine
    • Telephone carrier line equipment
    • Telephone carrier switching equipment
    • Telex machine
    • Traffic signal
    • Wide area network communications equipment
  • Audio Visual Equipment
    • Amplifier
    • Audio player (tape, disc, digital)
    • Audio recorder (tape, disc, digital)
    • Camera (film, tape, disc, digital)
    • Equalizer
    • Headphone
    • Microphone
    • Mixing board
    • Musical instrument
    • Preamplifier
    • Public address system
    • Radio
    • Receiver
    • Speaker
    • Television (CRT, LCD, Plasma)
    • Television (rear projection)
    • Tuner
    • Turntable
    • Video Player or projector (tape, disc, digital)
    • Video Recorder (tape, disc, digital)
  • Household Appliances
    • Air Purifier
    • Air Conditioner
    • Answering machine
    • Blender
    • Bottle or can dispenser
    • Can opener
    • Carpet sweeper
    • Clothes dryer
    • Clothes washer
    • Coffee grinder
    • Coffee maker
    • Curling iron
    • Dehumidifier
    • Devices for monitoring time
    • Dishwashing machine
    • Electric Hot Plate
    • Fan
    • Floor and carpet equipment
    • Food processor
    • Fryer
    • Garment care appliances
    • Glue Gun
    • Hair dryer
    • Heat Gun
    • Heater
    • Hot Drink Dispenser
    • Humidifier
    • Iron
    • Kettle
    • Knitting machine
    • Lighting equipment
    • Microwave oven
    • Mixer
    • Oven
    • Radiator
    • Razor
    • Scale
    • Scissors
    • Sewing Machine
    • Slicing Machine
    • Solid product dispenser
    • Stove
    • Toaster
    • Toaster Oven
    • Toothbrush (no brush)
    • Vacuum cleaner (no bag or vacuumed contents)
    • Vacuum sealer
    • Watch
    • Water Purifier
    • Weaving Machine
    • Weigh Scale
  • Toys, Leisure and Sports Equipment (electronic)
    • Action figures
    • Arts, crafts or hobby device
    • Building set
    • Doll
    • Game or puzzle
    • Gambling or gaming equipment
    • Sports equipment
    • Infant or preschool toy
    • Learning or exploration toy
    • Outdoor sports toy
    • Plush toy
    • Vehicle
    • Video games and accessories
  • Tools
    • Bender
    • Blower
    • Cutter
    • Dispenser
    • Drill
    • Fastener
    • Folder
    • Grinder
    • Hammer
    • Joiner
    • Lathe
    • Lawn Mower
    • Mill
    • Nail Gun
    • Nibbler
    • Planer
    • Polisher
    • Punch
    • Riveter
    • Router
    • Sander
    • Saw
    • Screwdriver
    • Shear
    • Soldering gun
    • Sprayer
    • Spreader
    • Staple Gun
    • Trimmer
    • Welder
    • Wrench
  • Navigational, Measuring, Monitoring, Medical or Control Instruments
    • Alarm System
    • Analyzer
    • Automatic environmental controller or regulator
    • Cardiology equipment
    • Dialysis machine
    • Drafting Instruments
    • Fertilization tester
    • Fire detection and alarm system
    • Hearing Aid
    • Heating regulator
    • Humidistat
    • Instrument for industrial process control
    • Irradiation equipment
    • Laboratory analytical equipment
    • Medical equipment
    • Meteorology instrumentation
    • Meter
    • Navigational and Radar equipment
    • Oscilloscope
    • Process Controller
    • Pulmonary ventilator
    • Radiation detection or monitoring equipment
    • Radiotherapy equipment
    • Refractometer
    • Scanner
    • Soil testing or analysis instrument
    • Surgical support equipment
    • Surveying equipment
    • Thermostat

Annex B –Non-Conforming Materiel

Electronic and electrical equipment may not be sent for recycling if it contains:

  1. A radioactive element.
  2. A refrigerant, such as chlorofluorocarbons or hydro chlorofluorocarbons.
  3. Residuals of chemicals.
  4. Liquid or gas fuel.
  5. Poly Chlorinated Bisphenols.
  6. Biohazards.

Federal departments and agencies are responsible for arranging the professional removal of toxic and hazardous material from their asset and ensuring its environmentally sound disposal. Assets that are no longer deemed to be hazardous waste may be directed for recycling as per the mechanisms outlined in this document. If it is not clear whether e-waste contains any of the above substances, contact the manufacturer of the product or the dealer from which it was purchased for additional information.

Departments and agencies that send non-conforming materiel for recycling without removing toxic and hazardous substances are responsible for all costs associated with its return to their facilities.

Departments and agencies may contact Public Works and Government Services Canada's National Service Call Centre (1-800-463-1850) to request assistance in managing the disposal of items containing the above substances.

Annex C – Submitting A Sales Request: GCSurplus Client Interface

The GCSurplus Client Interface web application is an online reporting tool used by departments and agencies to declare goods surplus and request for them to be sold by generating a Sales Request.

The Sales Request submitted through the GCSurplus Client Interface is not to be used to offer first right of refusal to Computers for Schools. Departments are to use their own internal report of surplus forms for this purpose. Donations refused by Computers for Schools may be submitted for sale to Crown Assets Distribution via the GCSurplus Client Interface provided equipment is deemed reusable and saleable.

Submitting a Sales Request:

  1. Offer Computers for Schools the Right of first Refusal for computer and related equipment that meets donation standards by faxing them a copy of your Report of Surplus. Web links to Computers for Schools contact information and donation standards are located in can be found on the Computers for Schools website.
  2. If Computers for Schools refuses the donation, use GCSurplus Client Interface to complete a Report of Surplus online.
  3. Include as much detail about the assets being surplused as possible i.e. manufacturer, model, quantity, physical damage, functionality, etc.
  4. Once you have completely filled in the Report of Surplus, print a copy for reference and future reporting requirements and submit it to Crown Assets Distribution.

If you require assistance in completing the electronic form, refer to the help page .

Annex D – Accessing the Standing Offer for E-Waste Recycling Services

There are currently two suppliers on the Standing Offer for e-waste recycling services. The Call-up procedure requires that the highest-ranked Supplier be offered the right of first refusal to provide the services required by the client. If the highest-ranked Supplier is able to meet the requirement, a Call-up is made against the Standing Offer. If that Supplier is unable to meet the requirement, the next ranked Supplier may then be contacted for services. Departments and agencies may access the Standing Offer for E-waste Recycling Services by following the steps below:

  1. Once the supplier has agreed to provide the requested services, the Project Authority (department/agency representative issuing the Call-up) must provide the Supplier with the following information to complete the request for Call-up against the Standing Offer:
    1. stream of services, A) Recycling or B) Recycling & Coordination of e-waste collection;
    2. the weight of materiel requiring recycling;
    3. the quantity of materiel (e.g., number of skids, boxes, etc.); and
    4. the exact location(s) (site address and location of materiel within site) for pick-up of the materiel (if applicable).

    In the event the Project Authority does not have the capacity to weigh e-waste, an estimate will be provided in accordance with  Annex F: Estimated E-waste Weights

  2. The Supplier must provide the Project Authority with an estimate of the cost of performing the specified work in accordance with the pricing provision of the Standing Offer. The Supplier must not undertake any of the specified work unless and until a Call-up is issued by the Project Authority. The estimated cost stated in the Call-up must not be exceeded without the specific written authorization of the Project Authority.
  3. Should the Supplier be unable to perform the Work, the Supplier must notify the Project Authority in writing within one (1) working day of being contacted.
  4. If a response is not received within the number of working days requested by the Project Authority, or if the Supplier has confirmed that it cannot complete the Work Request, the Work Request will then be forwarded to the other Supplier.
  5. The firm price, ceiling price or limitation of expenditure for the service(s) will be established by utilizing the applicable rate(s) identified in the Standing Offer.
  6. Upon agreement of the firm price, ceiling price or limitation of expenditure, for the Work requested, the Supplier will be authorized by the Project Authority to proceed with the Work by issuance of a Call Up Against a Standing Offer form, PWGSC942.

    The Supplier must not undertake any of the specified Work unless and until a Call-up is authorized by the Project Authority. The Supplier must sign and return a copy of the Call-up against the Standing Offer to the Project Authority. The Supplier acknowledges that any and all work performed in the absence of the aforementioned approved call-up will be done at the Supplier's own risk, and the Government of Canada will not be liable for payment therefore, unless or until an approved Call-Up is provided by the Project Authority.

  7. The materiel will be weighed at the Suppliers' facility to determine actual weight.

    The Supplier will provide a revised proposal to the Project Authority based on the actual weight of the materiel. The Call-up may be adjusted based on the actual weight of materiel. In the event the costs are adjusted upwards, a formal contract amendment must be issued by the Project Authority prior to the processing work being undertaken.

Call-ups against this Standing Offer have the following limitations:

  • Individual call-ups against the Standing Offer must not exceed $100,000.00 (Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax included);
  • Requirements exceeding the $100,000.00 call-up limitation up to $400,000.00 must be submitted to PWGSC Standing Offer Authority for review and authorization.
  • Requirement exceeding $400,000.00 must be submitted to PWGSC Standing Offer Authority for issuance of the call-up.

Annex E – How to Build A Pallet

Equipment and Materials

In order to be able to package properly, ensure that the necessary packaging materials are readily available. These typically include wooden pallets, rolls of plastic shrink wrap, Gaylord/Tri-wall boxes. Equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, pump trucks, pallet balancers and shrink wrap rollers are other useful tools in the packaging process.

Pallet Construction

It is important to create a well balanced pallet with a strong stable base and to use a sufficient amount of shrink-wrap. Approximately ½ roll of shrink wrap (or 35 revolutions of the pallet) is recommended per pallet. To ensure stability and ease of mobility, pallets should not be built higher than 6'0" and standard North American sized pallets (48"x40") are to be used. Materiel may also be packaged on pallets that are 36" wide. This may be required where proper warehouse facilities are not available and materiel needs to be moved through standard size doorways.

Do not pack items above the level of the box's vertical side walls. While it is acceptable for items to be sticking out slightly beyond the top of the box, they must be prevented from sliding off the top of the box. It should also be noted that Gaylord/tri-wall boxes should be placed onto pallets prior to filling them. Once the box is full, it should be sealed off at the top as per the Palletizing Procedures (Step #6) below.

Palletizing Procedures

Step # 1

Create a stable pallet by putting similar sized products at the base of the pallet. This creates a strong base of product which will not move. If it is necessary to palletize items of different dimensions together, create a stable base by packaging the largest items at the bottom and building around them.

Note: Put cardboard on the base to prevent slipping and to create an even foundation. To palletize CRT computer monitors or televisions screens, consider putting cardboard against the screens as an additional safeguard against breakage.

Step # 2

Wrap the first level of the pallet securely before starting on the second layer. Ensure that the base of the pallet is wrapped tightly and with enough shrink wrap such that the shrink wrap is opaque.

Note: The shrink wrap should be tight, causing it to bounce when tapped by hand.

Step # 3

Begin on the next layer and ensure that the new layer is wrapped as part of the whole pallet. Wrap the new layer and then again wrap down to the first layer/base. When creating new layers, interlock items so that they fit together as tightly as possible.

Note: Wrap each layer as it is created. Do not stack materiel and then attempt to wrap it once the desired pallet height is reached. This will result in an unstable pallet.

Step # 4

After wrapping the second layer, leave the roll of shrink wrap to the side so that it is available to wrap the next layer. Do not cut the shrink wrap.

Step # 5

For the third layer, repeat steps 3 and 4 and continue to create even layers by interlocking items to create a stable pallet. Continue to repeat steps 3 and 4 until the desired pallet height is reached.
Note: At this point, the shrink wrap around the lower part of the pallet should be opaque.

Step # 6

As the final layer is wrapped, cover the top of the pallet by criss-crossing shrink wrap from corner to corner and then wrapping down to the base of the pallet again. Continue to stretch the shrink wrap tightly as it is pulled down into the bottom of the pallet.

Note: If using a Gaylord/tri-wall box, seal the top in the same way.

Helpful Hints:

  • When attempting to layer oddly/differently shaped products on top of one another, use scrap pieces of cardboard to fill in the empty spaces to make the pallet more stable (see image below).

Examples of Completed Pallets

These pallets have been created with similar sized products on the same layer and with items alternating and interlocked, facing in and out.

These two images show a completed e-waste pallet.These two images show a completed e-waste pallet.

Note: The shrink wrap has been wrapped right to the base of the pallet to ensure stability.

When dealing with an oversized TV, fit smaller monitors/TVs in the spaces available around it to stabilize the pallet.

Annex F – Estimated E-Waste Weights Footnote 7

The following may be used for calculating estimates of e-waste shipping weights:

  • 1 pallet of computers: 1220lbs / 555kg - 48 units approx.
  • 1 pallet of laptops: 1200lbs / 546kg – 120 units approx.
  • 1 pallet of flat screen monitors: 750lbs / 341kg – 50 units approx.
  • 1 pallet of CRT monitors: 960lbs / 436kg – 24 units approx.
  • 1 pallet of desktop printers: 800lbs / 364kg – 16 units approx.
  • 1 Gaylord box of miscellaneous e–waste (mouse, cables, etc.): 890lbs / 405kg
  • 1 Gaylord box of shredded/broken hard drives: 1100lbs / 500kg

The following may be useful when estimating the weight of mixed pallets of e–waste.

  • 1 computer unit: 30lbs / 14kg approx.
  • 1 17" CRT monitor: 40lbs / 15 kg approx.
  • 1 desktop laser printer: 50lbs / 23kg approx.
  • 1 desktop inkjet printer: 10lbs / 5kg approx.
  • 1 17" Flat screen monitor: 15lbs / 7kg approx.
  • 1 Laptop: 10lbs / 5kg approx.
  • 1 hard drive: 1lb / 0.5kg approx.

For large miscellaneous items weight may be estimated based on a standard of 10lbs / 5kg per cubic foot:

  • I.e. if an item is 4'x 4'x 4',its volume would be 64 cubic feet and its weight would be estimated at 64ft³ x 10lbs = 640lbs / 320kg

Annex G – Instructions for Broken E-Waste

Departments and agencies that need to ship any broken electronic items, specifically items that contain lead or mercury, must provide advance notification to the recipient. Depending on the disposal mechanism being used, this will either be a provincial e–waste recycling program or a recycler listed on the Standing Offer for E–waste Recycling Services. These organizations will provide you with specific instructions regarding its packaging, storage and transportation.

Spills and breakages involving potentially toxic and hazardous materials must be reported according to the workplace health and safety policy of the facility in which they occur.

In general the following steps should be followed when cleaning up and packaging broken e–waste:

  • Broken CRT:
    • Sweep the broken CRT glass into a sealable container such as an empty industrial size bucket.
    • Do not use a hose to wash broken materials into the gutter or drain.
    • Seal the bucket and label it as such to indicate that it contains broken glass. Mark the bucket with the date that the glass was placed in it.
    • The bucket of glass will be shipped with other CRT's for recycling.
    • When arranging for e–waste pick up, inform the receiving organization that broken CRT glass will be included in the shipment.
  • Broken items containing mercury (e.g. mercury lamp in a flat screen monitor): Environment Canada provides detailed instructions on how small mercury spills should be addressed .


Footnote 1

Spend Cube has collected roughly 87% of Government of Canada spend

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Footnote 2

Electronics Takeback Coalition - Facts and Figures on E-waste Recycling: February 21, 2012

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Footnote 3

Ad Interim Project Group: Environmentally Sound Management Criteria Recommendations. Prepared for Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment Working Group; Basel Convention - Approved March 2009, Rev. March 2011.

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Footnote 4

Certification for recyclers to participate in provincial e-waste recycling programs in Canada is provided by the Recycler Qualification Office. Certified recyclers are those that have been audited and are deemed to comply with the Recycler Vendor Qualification Program developed by Electronic Product Stewardship Canada.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

Departments must offer right of first refusal of all surplus personal computers, laptops, servers, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, modems, hubs, network cards, hard drives, etc., to the Industry Canada Computers for Schools Program.

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Footnote 6

Process approved by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2008 and reviewed in 2011.

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Footnote 7

Based on average weight of pallets of materiel received by Computers for Schools, National Capital Region.

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