RE­CY­CLING

E- waste laws are get­ting a makeover.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - The writer trav­elled to Ja­pan as a guest of Pana­sonic.

WOULD you pay $ 10 for your TV to be re­cy­cled?

As Aus­tralians switch to dig­i­tal tele­vi­sions with the 2013 ana­logue switch-off loom­ing, the num­ber of TVs be­ing ditched into land­fill is sky­rock­et­ing.

Moves are afoot to head this off by charg­ing for re­cy­cling af­ter laws were passed to re-use parts of com­put­ers, TVs, re­frig­er­a­tors, air­con­di­tion­ers, wash­ing ma­chines and other ap­pli­ances.

The law is de­signed to stop metal and plas­tic go­ing to land­fill.

In Ja­pan, where a sim­i­lar scheme was in­tro­duced in 2001, Pana­sonic’s Eco Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre has seen the num­ber of re­cy­cled tube TVs grow from 560,000 in 2009 to 950,000 last year.

Aus­tralia’s Act is a ‘‘ coreg­u­la­tory’’ sys­tem that will al­low the Govern­ment to set goals while the in­dus­try de­ter­mines how to meet them.

Ja­pan’s re­cy­cling scheme op­er­ates with a levy charged in stores. Re­tail­ers are re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­er­ing goods to cus­tomers and col­lect­ing old ap­pli­ances for trans­port to re­cy­cling cen­tres.

In Osaka, one re­cy­cler pro­cesses more than 700,000 TVs, air­con­di­tion­ers, re­frig­er­a­tors and wash­ing ma­chines each year. It op­er­ates at a profit, which is in­vested in re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

In Aus­tralia, so-called e-waste re­cy­cling plants al­ready ex­ist but most rely on coun­cil-led e-waste col­lec­tions for busi­ness.

The re­cent Prod­uct Stew­ard­ship Act pro­vides a ba­sis for re­cy­cling, with Tele­vi­sion and Com­puter Reg­u­la­tions drafted and out for con­sul­ta­tion.

It pro­poses man­u­fac­tur­ers join a cen­tral re­cy­cling or­gan­i­sa­tion and pay for the cost of re­cy­cling the TVs and com­put­ers they sell. Com­pa­nies that refuse to join will be re­spon­si­ble for col­lect­ing and re­cy­cling their prod­ucts.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers will likely pass on the cost to con­sumers in the price of prod­ucts, with rates still to be de­ter­mined.

In Ja­pan, the re­cy­cling levy costs as much as $ 42 for a 15-inch ( 38cm) tube TV and $ 48 for a large plasma TV, although that in­cludes the bill for trans­port­ing the tele­vi­sion to the re­cy­cling plant.

Pana­sonic Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Steve Rust says given Ja­pan’s low rate of car own­er­ship com­pared with Aus­tralia, stores will prob­a­bly not pick up and de­liver items for re­cy­cling.

‘‘ Given the lo­ca­tions of re­tail­ers and the lo­gis­tics of col­lec­tion of large ap­pli­ances, we’re un­likely to use a re­tailer­based col­lec­tion method here,’’ Rust says.

Aus­tralia’s com­puter and TV re­cy­cling reg­u­la­tions will close for pub­lic com­ment on Oc­to­ber 10 and the scheme is due to start be­fore the end of the year.

Re­cy­cling ex­ist­ing com­put­ers and tele­vi­sions will be pos­si­ble un­der the scheme, which is ex­pected to be avail­able na­tion­ally within five years.

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