National e-waste policy updated

National e-waste policy updated

The Department of the Environment has issued updated regulations around the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

The NTCRS sets out to minimise the amount e-waste, particularly hazardous materials, sent to landfill, while increasing the responsible recovery of resources from these products.

The Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Amendment (Operational Review) Regulation 2015, released in July, brings into effect the recommendations of the operational review undertaken in late 2014.

The policy allows for increases to the e-waste recycling targets until 2027, which Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced in June. The targets are:
• 50 per cent for 2015/16 – an increase of 13 per cent;
• 58 per cent in 2016-17
• increases of 2 per cent a year until 2026-27, when the 80 per cent target is scheduled to be achieved.

The revised target for 2015/16 represents an estimated extra 10,050 tonnes of e-waste to be saved from landfill, bringing the total for the year to more than 53,000 tonnes. Over four years, the changes will result in 32,279 tonnes’ more e-waste being recycled.

The amended legislation also includes new rules for businesses recycling e-waste. From 1 July 2016, the recycling of television or computer products in Australia must be done by “recyclers and facilities certified to and in compliance with the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 5377:2013”. This Standard covers the collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment.

When announcing the above changes for recyclers, Greg Hunt said, “This will ensure that e-waste is recycled safely and to the best environmental standards. Recyclers will have until 1 July 2016 to become certified to the standard.”

The regulation also updates the scaling factors used in the methodology to calculate waste, so that they accurately reflect the volume of electronic products entering the waste stream each year.

“This scheme is the centrepiece of a national approach to e-waste, where responsibility is shared between industry, under the scheme, and state, territory and local government,” said Mr Hunt. “It is important though that state, territory and local governments continue to manage e-waste that remains outside the national scheme’s targets.”

For full details see www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2015L01035

In brief…

  • E-waste recycling target for 2015-16 increases from 37% to 50%
  • Recyclers processing e-waste must be certified to Standard AS/NZS 5377:2013 by 1 July 2016
  • Scaling factors of e-waste volumes updated
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