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Australia and New Zealand adopt e-scrap standard

    Australia/New Zealand – A new standard designed to help divert e-scrap from landfill by imposing a rigorous process for its collection, storage and recycling have been set by Standards Australia.

    The joint Australian and New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment) outlines minimum requirements for the safe and environmentally sound handling of e-scrap.

    According to Colin Blair, chief executive officer at Standards Australia, it sets out principles and minimum requirements for end-of-life electrical equipment in order to maximise reuse, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, safeguard worker health, and minimise environmental harm.  ‘The standard states that a lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation or adverse health and safety effects,’ says Blair. ‘The standard sends a strong message regarding the environmental concerns of e-scrap.’

    The standard recognises that there are laws in place regulating how to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and environmental performance, and that Australia and New Zealand are signatories to international agreements on environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and pollutants, he points out. ‘The standard enhances existing environmental protections and international obligations, while establishing the processes required to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill,’ Blair adds.

    Senator Don Farrell, federal parliamentary secretary for sustainability and urban water, says the standard ‘will complement the Australian government’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme under which recycling services for televisions and computers are being rolled out to communities across Australia’. Householders and businesses can now drop off unwanted e-scrap products and be ‘confident that the valuable materials they contain will be recovered, and that any hazardous materials will not enter the environment’.

    The standard also provides environmentally effective guidelines for industry and will help ensure that, from July 1 2014, at least 90% of all materials in e-scrap collected under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme are recovered for use in new products, Farrell adds.

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