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Australia plays catch-up with e-waste recycling bill

Australia – Australia’s TV and computer industries have welcomed the introduction of a new bill which, if passed into law, will force companies to fund a national recycling service for electronic waste. The Product Stewardship Bill introduced to the Federal Parliament of Australia looks to force manufacturers, suppliers and importers of information technology equipment and TVs to deliver a permanent e-waste recycling service to the community.In Europe, appliance retailers are legally required to reclaim electronic goods from customers at the end of the equipment’s useful life but such legislation has not yet reached Australia where less than 20% of businesses offer this option to customers. At the same time, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show e-waste is growing faster than any other waste stream in the country. A report by Hyder Consulting and PriceWaterhouseCoopers has found that 32 million new televisions and computer products were sold in 2008, and that 16.8 million televisions, computers and other computer products reached the end of their useful lives by the end of the same year, with 88% ending up in landfill.
John Gertsakis, Executive Director of the Product Stewardship Association (PSA), has welcomed the bill’s introduction. ‘PSA has been a strong supporter of legislation which balances government intervention, measurable environmental outcomes and social demand,’ he says. ‘The importance of government policies and regulations which meet community expectations but are also flexible and enable industry to operate efficiently is paramount.’
It is expected that collection services will be rolled out over a five-year period.

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