E- waste laws are getting a makeover.
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.