Media Releases | 5th Nov, 2009

Green group welcomes breakthrough on electronic waste

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Environment Victoria today congratulated the federal government on its decision to introduce a national television and computer recycling scheme.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett made the announcement at today’s meeting of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) in Perth.

Under the new scheme, manufacturers will be responsible for the collection of old equipment and will be required to meet a recycling target of 80 per cent by 2021. This is commonly referred to as an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme.

Environment Victoria campaigner Fraser Brindley said this decision was welcome and very timely. “Australians currently send more than 14 million televisions and computers to landfill each year,” he said.

“With the switch over to digital transmission looming the need to deal with this issue is urgent, so it’s great news that the federal government has announced a scheme today.

“Televisions, computers and all other electronic waste (e-waste) are a problem in landfill because of the variety of chemicals that they contain. Throwing TVs and computers into landfill is just plain dumb.

“Recycling e-waste keeps toxins out of landfill. But it also recovers valuable resources and creates jobs.”

A report by Environment Victoria and the Total Environment Centre earlier this year showed that a national television and computer recycling scheme would create over 2,200 new jobs. This figure would grow to 5,300 new jobs if mobile phones, DVD players, cameras and all other e-waste items were included.

“The good thing about this EPR scheme is that it can easily be expanded,” Mr Brindley said. “Australia has the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs in the recycling industry by dealing with the growing problem of e-waste. This is good for jobs and the environment.”

While supporting the federal government’s decision, Environment Victoria called on the Victorian Government to do its bit.

“Victoria needs to follow the lead of South Australia and introduce a landfill ban on e-waste,” Mr Brindley said. “Restrictions on disposal will only help boost recycling rates and help create more jobs.”

Environment Victoria also welcomed decisions of the EPHC to take the next step towards a national container deposit scheme by developing a regulatory impact statement.

For more comments, please contact:

Fraser Brindley on 0417 557 477.