Australia, News, Opinion, Waste & Resource Recovery

Better access to free recycling of televisions and computers

Australian households and small businesses will have better access to free recycling for their computers and televisions as the federal government has approved two more providers for the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said the Government is improving the management of e-waste under the NTCRS as part of its broader agenda to better manage Australia’s e-waste.

“Our e-waste is growing at a rate three times faster than any other waste stream and is the single fastest growing waste stream globally,” Ley said. “The benefits of recycling our e-waste cannot be contested. According to a US study about 12.6 jobs are created for every 1,000 tonnes of e-waste recycled, we save money by not using virgin materials and we keep potentially dangerous materials out of landfill.

“I am delighted to welcome Sustainable Product Stewards Pty Ltd and the Activ Group Solutions Pty Ltd to this important scheme. Of particular benefit to many Australians is that the Activ Group is for the first time offering to collect e-waste from consumers’ homes and businesses.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said that the Government’s strong ambition is to ensure every device with a plug or battery can be recovered through a product stewardship scheme before it becomes landfill.

“Computers, solar panels, and batteries all have recyclable components which shouldn’t be wasted in landfill,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“We want brands, manufacturers, retailers and industry groups to take greater responsibility for the entire lifecycle of the products they produce and sell, including at disposal.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Activ Group, Helen Jarman said that its Ecoactiv Digital Platform allows consumers to choose the best fit solution for their needs.

“Most consumers want to recycle their NCTRS items, along with, on average, 5-7 other items. Consumers now have a service that can collect eligible NTCRS e-waste and other items, either from the home, the office, or if nearby, a suitable facility. This welcome innovation should considerably boost Australia’s e-waste recycling and further activate Australia’s growing circular economy,” Jarman said.

Co-founders of Sustainable Product Stewards, Kevin Mooney and Sharon Selwood said the company is looking forward to helping Australians recycle their televisions, computer and computer parts in an environmentally responsible way with a positive social outcome.

“Our aim is not only to keep NCTRS eligible products out of landfill and to support a circular economy by making valuable components available for recycling but to continue to support ongoing employment for over 400 individuals with special needs working in e-waste processing,” said Mooney.

The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme is Australia’s only national regulated e-waste product stewardship scheme. It recycles approximately 60,000 tonnes of televisions and computers, including printers, computer parts and peripherals, from Australian households and small businesses every year. Funded by industry, it has recycled over 400,000 tonnes of e-waste.

A new taskforce has been established in the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment focusing on consumer electronics stewardship. The taskforce will assess the options, costs and benefits of developing product stewardship arrangements for electrical and electronic equipment in addition to products covered by the NTCRS. Nationwide consultation with industry and other key stakeholders throughout the supply chain has already begun