A box of electronic waste

The ALGA has submitted a plan that aims to better regulate end-of-life outcomes for small electrical and electronic equipment (SEEE) and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, in an effort to help reduce waste costs for councils. 

The submission was made to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for the development of a regulatory product stewardship scheme for SEEE and PV systems. 

Australia only recovers about a third of the total value of e-waste materials it generates, meaning around $430 million worth of materials, within e-waste, is sent to landfill.

The ALGA is advocating for a regulatory approach – aligning with the National Waste Policy Action Plan – for product stewardship for SEEE and PV equipment, with a focus on making industry responsible for end-of-life recycling of their products.

The submission outlines a number of recommendations addressing the Department’s discussion paper: 

  • Mechanisms to ensure regular, clear reporting by the Scheme Administrator, to assist liable parties, collectors, recyclers and local governments to ensure the scheme is operating effectively, determine if types of electronic waste outside the scheme should be included and verify that remote communities are able to participate in the scheme 
  • A clear and accessible process for adding additional products to the scheme as required
  • Safeguards to ensure that the Scheme Coordinator and Network Operator take all eligible materials
  • Complementary planning processes need to ensure that there is sufficient recycling infrastructure and end markets for materials collected through the scheme, in order to prevent stockpiling of potentially hazardous materials
  • Prescribed fees payable by liable parties need to reflect the true cost of collection and processing of e-products for the whole of Australia – including regional and remote areas
  • The Scheme or complementary measures will need to address PV waste from the commissioning phase of large-scale solar installation
  • Education of suppliers and consumers on end-of-life management of products
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