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Revised product stewardship legislation calls on brands to step-up

Proposed changes to product stewardship legislation are being released today in the first round of grants from the federal government’s new $20 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund. It is designed to ensure manufacturers, retailers and industry groups take greater responsibility for the entire lifecycle of the products they produce and sell.

Grants of up to $1 million will be available for individual applicants to expand existing schemes or develop new ones, with first round applications opening today.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the fund was a critical part of the Morrison Government’s billion-dollar recycling strategy ensuring that there are clear streams for collection, processing and remanufacture.

“We are building more capacity in our recycling sector and we need industry and brands to take greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts,” she said.

“There will be a particular focus on e-waste, ensuring that anything with a plug or a battery is subject to an industry scheme. Solar panels, batteries, and even non electronic items like child car seats all have recyclable components which shouldn’t be wasted in landfill.

“As part of this game-changing investment we will recognise those industries that get on board and call out those that don’t participate,” she said.

New job opportunities

Assistant minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans added that product stewardship schemes would reduce the impact of products on the environment and create new job opportunities for Australians.

“This funding will shift the dial in Australia as we change our mindsets to thinking about waste as a resource. There will be strong economic and environmental benefits from turbo-charging product stewardship.

“Whether it’s an old computer, half a tin of paint or an old mobile phone, we want to provide the incentives for manufacturers and organisations to turbo-charge product stewardship schemes operating across Australia so that these types of products are responsibly managed.

“If there are alternatives to chucking something in the bin that could have another life, either through repair, reuse or recycling, then these need to be fully explored and considered.”

Manufacturers, industry groups and individual businesses are encouraged to consider how they can collaborate to establish new product stewardship schemes.

The Morrison Government today releases the Review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (www.environment.gov.au/product-stewardship), supporting all 26 recommendations to improve product stewardship outcomes, including:

  • Establishing a new Centre of Excellence to mentor and drive best practice product stewardship schemes across the nation
  • Broadening the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all electrical and electronic products (e-waste), so that all consumer products with a plug or battery can be recycled
  • Shifting the emphasis from stand-alone products to entire material streams
  • Reducing the costs and improving the benefits of scheme accreditation so consumers have confidence in their recycling
  • Strengthening the Minister’s priority products list to encourage brands to work together towards an industry-led scheme by adding clear timeframes
  • Calling out those letting consumers and their industry down by not participating in a scheme.