‘Global E-waste Systems, Insights for Australia from other developed countries’ calls for “shared responsibility” from all levels of government, industry and consumers
A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) calls for all stakeholders in the electronic waste (e-waste) system to take greater responsibility, to combat the rising concern around its growth.
The EIU report on Global E-waste Systems was commissioned by Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) to better understand how Australia’s e-waste systems compare to the developed markets of Japan, Finland and Germany – with the findings showing a level of sophistication not currently present in Australia.
The research reveals that although Australia has made large strides in the past decade, it’s in its infancy of e-waste recycling, with a long way still to go in developing a long term sustainable system, to catch-up with other developed markets.
“As the technological revolution marches forward, e-waste systems will need to adapt accordingly and our report highlights that for Australia to increase the level of systemic e-waste recycling, there needs to be a greater focus on ‘shared responsibility’, as not only producers, but governments, retailers, business and consumers play a critical role in the e-waste debate,” said John Ferguson, Senior Economist, EIU and author of the report.
As e-waste programs evolve, several countries are considering ways to encourage greater participation from consumers, while some producers and manufacturers are increasingly developing innovative strategies for product design, waste reduction, recycling and reuse.
The rate of e-waste shows no sign of slowing down, and as developing economies catch-up with those who are advanced, the quantity of electrical and electronic equipment consumed will also climb – the EIU report indicates that IT hardware spending alone is forecast to rise by around 60 per cent between 2009 and 2018.
Carmel Dollisson, CEO of ANZRP, believes there is currently a lot more that all stakeholders can do to take responsibility for the e-waste they consume: “The report strongly indicates to us that that there needs to be a greater sense of urgency from some parties. A higher level of shared responsibility needs to be taken, especially by local and state governments, who need to develop immediate action plans to take control of e-waste in their system.”
“We all play a critical role, for example, local governments can work towards driving policies that incentivise the recycling behaviour among households, the retailer sector can act as a collection point in the e-waste system, and regulators can help to drive these initiatives to ensure that responsibility is taken in every link of the chain,” said Dollisson.
“As technology consumption continues to rise, it’s critical that we promote awareness around ‘responsible consumerism’, and entice and encourage consumers and businesses to become more active players in the management and recycling of their electronic waste – a concerted joint effort is required to get the message out about the benefits of recycling for the economy and environment,” added Dollisson.
Dollisson believes that an environment in which responsibilities are more evenly shared, incentives are clearly established and roles are more carefully defined, offers Australia the best hope for a more effective and adaptable system for the future.
“E-waste is without a doubt, an incredibly complex multi-faceted issue, and each country is not without its own individual challenges. Although many countries have an e-waste policy in place, the key is the willingness of all stakeholders to contribute to it,” concluded Dollisson.
Click here to read the entire report.
Click here to view the accompanying infographic.
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ABOUT ANZRP AND TECHCOLLECT:
Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) manages the TechCollect program, a free national e-waste recycling service funded by many of Australia’s leading technology importers and manufacturers dedicated to responsible recycling, including Toshiba, Canon, Epson, HP, Fuji Xerox, Dell, Panasonic and many others. TechCollect is committed to setting the highest Australian standard for responsible recycling of e-waste. It is Australia’s only Government approved, industry backed, not-for-profit e-waste recycling service under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. Visit anzrp.com.au for corporate information or techcollect.com.au to find your nearest collection site.