Uniform approach for e-waste

Thursday, 07 May, 2009

A landmark agreement which has the potential to massively increase recycling of computer equipment from Australian households, and create many jobs, has been announced by The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Total Environment Centre (TEC).

The ‘End-of-life Computer Equipment Compact’ comes as Australia’s environment ministers prepare for a key meeting later in May.

“We have to stop the stream of millions of computers and televisions being dumped into landfill,” said Jeff Angel director of the Total Environment Centre. “This compact sets out the principles we want government to build into a proper regulatory regime that covers the entire industry. The environmental benefits are significant.”

Ian Birks, Chief Executive Officer of the AIIA, said: “We are pleased to be working with the environment movement to develop a uniform national approach to the management of electronic waste. There is clearly widespread recognition of this need. We have been pushing for the government to provide a consistent regulatory framework that excludes ‘free riders’ for some time, so that we can confidently roll out a nationwide take-back and recycling scheme.”

Both groups said a computer and television recycling scheme would create jobs in the push for a green economy.

“Industry and green groups agree on principles and are calling for action, and the government needs to catch up,” said Angel. “But the situation can be fixed when the Environment Ministers meet in Hobart on 22 May.”

Ian McAlister, Executive Director of the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, whose membership includes the majority of television manufacturers, agreed.

“It is accepted across industry that we want to do the right thing on end-of-life product stewardship, but we do need government help. We need it to provide a framework that ensures that all suppliers, not just the ‘good guys’, do the right thing.

“This compact is a powerful call to government for action, which we wholeheartedly support,” said McAlister.

The compact is also supported by Environment Victoria and Clean Up Australia.

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