National e-waste recycling scheme to begin this year

The national e-waste recycling scheme has signed up its first service provider to administer free pick-up of electronics from households and businesses.

The industry-run and -funded National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, to be launched mid-2012, has signed up DHL as its first approved provider following the Federal Government’s seal of approval.

The scheme, which was established under the Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations 2011 legislation, will provide access to free collection and recycling services for computers, printers, televisions, and other electronics.

It aims to curb the increasing dumping of electronic waste in Australian landfills #8212; expected to hit 181,000 tonnes by 2028 from 106,000 tonnes in 2008 #8212; and boost the recycling rate for TVs and computers from 17 per cent in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2021.

The scheme is also looking at reducing human and environmental exposure to hazardous e-waste materials such as bromine, lead, mercury, and zinc, as well as meeting a material recovery of 90 per cent by 2015.

Electronics importers, including Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi, must sign up to an approved provider by 1 April 2012, as stipulated under the regulations. However, small businesses that import or manufacture fewer than 15,001 computer products or 5001 computers, printers, and televisions are exempt from the scheme.

The regulations also set out the recycling targets expected to be met by the television and computer industry.

A spokesperson for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities told Computerworld Australia that the scheme was two years in the making but talks about creating the program had been ongoing for almost a decade.

“In November 2009, all Australian environment ministers agreed on a new national waste policy,” the department spokesperson said.

“The National Waste Policy: Less Waste, More Resources was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in 2010. A key commitment under the policy was the establishment of national product stewardship legislation, with televisions and computers to be the first products covered by the new legislation.

“The making of the Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations in November 2011 followed over two years of extensive consultation with industry, waste associations, recyclers, NGOs, consumer groups and local and state governments.”

The scheme will be rolled out across the country by December 2013.

Follow Diana Nguyen on Twitter: @diananguyen9

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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