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Ground-breaking e-waste facilities in Australia

Australia – After years of debate, a historic step has been taken in Australia with the opening of the first recycling facilities specifically for the treatment of end-of-life televisions, PC hardware and other electronics equipment.

The two new operations, which also function as e-waste collection points, are located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ACT’€™s Chief Minister Katy Gallagher believes this initiative ‘€˜will help play a significant role in improving the recycling rates of televisions and computers not only in the ACT but across the nation’€™, fuelling hopes that it might ‘€˜alleviate persistent issues regarding illegal dumping’€™.

However, it is not the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) which will be responsible for the handling of unwanted technology. Instead this role will be taken on by German logistics authority DHL, which has revealed that its only recycling partner to date is Sony.

The company’€™s South Pacific CEO Terry Ryan notes that the new recycling ventures are part of a ‘€˜free scheme’€™, providing an ‘€˜on-going service’€™ so that residents are able to dispose of items ‘€˜at a time that suits them best’€™. He adds: ‘€˜We are pleased to launch this service in conjunction with the ACT government and are looking forward to further expanding this service to over 100 collection sites across Australia.’€™

The issue gained momentum in October 2008 when the ANZRP’€™s Chairman Ken Thompson made extensive efforts to push TV recycling to the operational stage by early 2009. However, a complex debate ensued about how such schemes would be run, from where the necessary funds would come, and how to deal with so-called ‘€˜freeloaders’€™, thus forcing a return to the drawing board.

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