This new financial year has certainly presented a number of challenges and opportunities to ANZRP and our TechCollect program. The good news is that there is increasing community, government and industry interest in better recycling, with a particular focus on e-waste.
On the government front we have the e-waste ban now implemented in Victoria on July 1 and an increased Federal government interest in product stewardship. The Victorian e-waste ban is having an increasing impact with many councils now moving to address this requirement through new service requirements. Community awareness is gradually increasing but the elephant in the room is still who will pay to have this material collected and recycled. The issue as to how this material is recycled is also relevant – simple shredding to recover ferrous metal with the remainder still going to landfill will not achieve the environmental outcomes the ban is seeking to achieve.
On the Federal level the review of the Product Stewardship Act and the NTCRS is still continuing and has progressed to draft recommendations being developed. ANZRP have been active in providing our advice to the review and have put forward a number of key actions that can be quickly implemented to address current concerns. In particular we are lobbying for an improvement in the ‘Reasonable Access’ requirements to ensure a fair distribution of services and coverage by all co-regulatory arrangements. Our TechCollect program has provided a genuine, permanent, and free service to regional and remote sites at a significant cost for many years whilst other co-regulatory arrangements reduce compliance costs by relying predominantly on one-off events that collect minimal amounts. In a competitive environment this uneven playing field needs to be rectified to ensure the ongoing viability of the program.
We have also been actively supporting the increase of program scope to potentially cover all e-waste. This will create scale that will reduce recycling and logistics costs, increase and improve collection networks, improve recycling standards and prevent valuable and potentially toxic e-waste ending up in landfill. It will also provide an important funding mechanism to address the aforementioned elephant in the room.
An exciting project you will read more about in this issue of Unplugged is our Mobile E-Waste Factory project. With generous support of Sustainability Victoria we are developing a containerised e-waste processing factory that can be deployed to regional and remote areas providing a local service as well as employment and educational opportunities. This is a great triple bottom line project that delivers financial, social and environmental benefits and will be launched next year.
Christmas is fast approaching and I hope you have the opportunity for a break and to spend some time with family and friends. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to our newest collection partners Inverell Shire Council, Pyrenees Shire Council and the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley, and to thank our collection partners and recyclers who continue to support our vision of an effective and responsible e-waste service.
We will be closed from 2pm Christmas eve (Tuesday 24th December) and will return on Thursday 2nd January. Our TechCollect program will be ready to service the inevitable post-Christmas rush and we look forward to working with you again in 2020.
Warren Overton, CEO