The Australian Government is increasing the recycling target under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to 50 per cent in 2015–16, to boost recycling and protect jobs.
This will increase the recycling target by an estimated 10,050 tonnes to more than 53,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2015–16. Over four years, the changes will result in an extra 32,279 tonnes of e-waste being recycled.
These changes will create more opportunities for Australians to have their e-waste recycled and importantly, create much needed stability in the e-waste sector in order to deliver safe and environmentally sound recycling into the future.
Although the scheme has driven an increase in e-waste recycling in Australia to more than 40,000 tonnes a year, it has been hampered by a slow target trajectory and a lack of consistent standards for e-waste recyclers.
The scheme was poorly designed and implemented by the previous Labor government, and states and territories.
On discovering that a lack of ongoing work was causing instability in the sector, while community demand for recycling services was going unmet in some areas, I announced an operational review late last year.
Today, joined by Steven Ciobo MP and standing alongside the employees and their families at the Endeavour Foundation, I announced the findings of the review and the action we are taking to protect jobs.
The Endeavour Foundation is one of a number of social and disability organisations employing hundreds of people that play a key role in the scheme, often undertaking the first stages of the recycling process before transporting the separated materials for further, specialised processing.
In addition to boosting the recycling target, another key recommendation was for recyclers to conform to the new Australian Standard on e-waste recycling. 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.
I acknowledge the vital role of the television and computer industries in funding the scheme, and will implement a review recommendation to change the scheme’s product weight conversion factors. This will make the scheme fairer and more affordable for those companies, saving $71 million over the next ten years.
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 governments. It is important though that state, territory and local governments continue to manage e-waste that remain outside the national scheme’s targets.
Working with organisations such as the Endeavour Foundation, we can all take responsibility in reducing our waste to landfill, providing valuable employment to the people in our local community and keeping our land clean and sustainable for future generations.