Switch Out Fact Sheet
Switch Out
Fact Sheet PDF

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About the National Program

Switch Out is a national program designed to remove, collect and manage mercury-containing convenience lighting switches and anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensor modules in end-of-life vehicles before they are flattened, shredded and recycled into new steel.

This award-winning program is funded and supported by Canada's steel and automotive industries through the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) and Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association (CVMA), and currently works in partnership with the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI) to deliver Switch Out to all provinces and territories in Canada. All recyclers and dismantlers in Canada are encouraged to join. This collaborative effort will assist the steel and automotive industries in meeting the new federal notice to prepare and implement pollution prevention plans in respect of mercury releases from end-of-life vehicles processed by steel mills.

Switch Out, which is operated by Scout Environmental (formerly Summerhill Impact), works directly with automotive recyclers and dismantlers to remove, collect and manage mercury-containing switches and ABS sensor modules from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). This program also provides training materials and educational resources to recyclers and dismantlers. Automotive recyclers across Canada who participate in the Switch Out program are taking action to ensure that mercury from switches found in end-of-life vehicles does not enter the environment.

Diagram: Benefits of Switch Out

Participation: Participation in the program is free and simple. Fill in the registration form and Scout Environmental will send you everything you need to participate in the Switch Out program – a collection container, training and educational resources and a pre-paid courier waybill to return your bin when it is full.

Collection: Scout Environmental encourages recyclers to return their collection containers whenever they are full. We also conduct collection "sweeps" twice a year in April and October where we request recyclers to return their collection containers whether they are full or not. These sweeps encourage ongoing participation from recyclers and dismantlers, which helps Scout Environmental with regular collection and proper management of the switches and ABS sensor modules.

Please note, Switch Out is dedicated to automotive mercury switches – this includes convenience lighting switches and ABS sensor modules only. Under the national program, no other mercury devices will be collected in the Switch Out collection containers.


Genesis of the Switch Out Program

Pollution Probe piloted the program in 2000 with 11 automobile recyclers in Ontario. The program was transferred to the Clean Air Foundation (now Scout Environmental) in 2001, and began operating in a number of provinces. Since 2008, Switch Out has expanded to a national program, available to all automotive recyclers and dismantlers across Canada.

Switch Out has been recognized with several awards since its inception. Scout Environmental won the silver Environmental Health Award for Switch Out at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards and was also recognized with a 2011 Minister's Award for Environmental Excellence.