Media Releases | 13th Sep, 2006

Industry, community kick-start computer recycling campaign

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

The Let’s Do IT! Alliance has issued a deadline for all state governments to implement national safety-net regulations by 1 January 2007 for computer recycling or face calls for individual state action.

The alliance of local government, community groups and recycling companies held its inaugural meeting last Friday in Melbourne in response to lack of state government action on toxic computers. The meeting also called on all state governments to ban all end-of-life computers from landfill.

“This is a key test for the NSW and Victorian governments with elections on the way,” said Jeff Angel, TEC Director. “In the case of NSW, after five years of legislation awaiting implementation, the Government is running out of excuses not to regulate. There are only so many threats Government can make while producers continue to stall and recycling infrastructure waits for volume. Producers will get a nasty shock when they’re lumbered with individual state regulation.”

“The Federal Government holds the key to making a computer recycling program work,” said Rick Wakelin, Victorian State Manager Sims E-Recycling. “At the very least, the Federal Government must provide essential customs data that will allow state regulators to track computer importers.”

“The computer industry is too fractured to pull together agreement on this issue. If individual companies operate their own schemes, there will be no economies of scale, consumers will be confused and recycling will remain expensive. Government leadership is well overdue,” Mr Wakelin said.

“Australia is lagging well behind other OECD countries on toxic e-waste,” said Kane Siegel, General Manager of TIC Ewaste Solutions. The community wants a green solution to this toxic waste, and it’s up to the state and Federal governments to provide it.”

“The computers on every street corner during local council collections are testimony to the failure of governments to stand up to industry,” said Jenny Henty, Director Zero Waste campaign at Environment Victoria. “It’s not only costing our environment, it’s costing rate-payers who are footing the bill for land-filling these toxic time-bombs.”

Five years of industry stone-walling and continued rounds of government talks have not delivered any action on end-of-life computers. As a result, the Let’s do IT! group has been formed to press for urgent action.

Let’s do IT Roundtable Members:

  • Total Environment Centre – Total Environment Centre is a leading non-profit environmental advocacy group working at state and national levels since its inception in 1972.
  • SIMS Recycling Solutions – SIMSGroup is the World’s largest recycling company with more than 120 sites across 16 countries processing end of life products, metals, plastics, tyres and other non-metallic materials as well as a producer of sustainable energy.
  • MRI Australia – MRI Australia offers End-of-Life and End-of-Use solutions for computer and telecommunications equipment through environmentally innovative refurbishment, remarketing and recycling.
  • Environment Victoria – Environment Victoria is the state’s peak non-government environment organisation and has been campaigning across Victoria for more than 30 years.
  • NSW LGA – The LGA represents 73 councils in NSW’s metropolitan and major regional cities.
  • TIC – TIC Ewaste Solutions, a division of TIC Group, provides integrated services for the collection and recycling of electronic waste throughout Australia.
  • Conservation Council of Western Australia – The Conservation Council of WA is the State’s peak conservation organization, representing 80 affiliated groups and working to promote conservation and a sustainable society.