National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme - Guide for Local Government

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011

This fact sheet provides local government with essential information about the new Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.

About the Scheme

The National Computer and Television Recycling Scheme will provide Australian householders and small business with access to free collection and recycling services for televisions and computers. The Scheme will recycle televisions, computers, printers and computer products (such as keyboards, mice, and hard drives), regardless of their brand or age.  The first collections under the Scheme will start in mid-2012, expanding across metropolitan, regional and remote areas of Australia by the end of 2013. Information about local activities will be provided to local governments as the Scheme rolls out.

The Scheme will be funded and run by the television and computer industry, and regulated by the Australian Government under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and the Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations 2011. State and territory governments retain responsibility for regulating waste.

What will it achieve?

The Scheme aims to lift television and computer recycling from the current low rate of around 17 per cent to 80 per cent by 2021-22, diverting this waste from landfill, reducing dumping and recovering resources. As it rolls out, the Scheme will provide people with greater choice for recycling when disposing of televisions and computers, while helping Australia’s recycling industry to grow.  Over time it is likely the Scheme will replace existing collection services, including those provided by state and local governments – which will reduce costs for government and, through them, the community.

How will the Scheme work?

Regulations came into effect 8 November 2011 that require television and computer importers and manufacturers to become members of an approved arrangement (known as Approved Co Regulatory Arrangements in the Act), that will collect and recycle televisions, computers, printers and computer products on their behalf. An approved arrangement will need to meet recycling targets that increase each year and a range of other requirements. It is expected that approved arrangements will set in place a range of agreements and contracts to deliver both collection and recycling services.

  • The industry-run recycling arrangements (i.e. approved arrangements) must be approved by the Australian Government to ensure they are able to meet the requirements of the regulations such as the recycling targets and give a commitment to meet appropriate standards for safety and good environmental practice.
  • Approved arrangements will have around 18 months to meet their first recycling target – to encourage early action anything recycled by a liable party from 8 November 2011 can be counted toward the first target of 30 per cent by June 2013.
  • Approved arrangements will need to provide reasonable access to collection services across Australia by December 2013 – the benchmarks for measuring this are set out in the regulations.
  • Approved arrangements have flexibility in how they provide collection services, and will collect products from a range of sources including households and business. This could result in a variety of approaches, including fixed collection sites, take-back through retailers, periodic collections in remote areas and direct arrangements with large business.
  • Approved arrangements must provide their collection services free of charge to households and small business; noting that this condition does not apply to products collected (for example by local government) before the commencement of the regulations.
Television recycling point

Television recycling point

What will it mean for local government?

Local government, where relevant, will continue to have a role in managing e-waste:

  • The Scheme may provide opportunities for local governments to negotiate either partnerships or, in some cases, commercial arrangements with approved arrangements. This could mean that councils become collectors for the Scheme.
  • The Scheme will not regulate local government.
  • However, should a local government choose to become a collector for the Scheme, changes to existing services may be required to meet Scheme requirements, for example from 8 November 2011 no fees are permitted for drop off by householders or small businesses for Scheme run services and relevant occupational health and safety and environmental standards will need to be met.
  • The Scheme will significantly increase the recycling rate of waste televisions and computer and will in time meet community demand for recycling - but not all of television and computer waste will be collected by the Scheme.
  • Collection services under the Scheme will start slowly and build up over time, consequently to meet community needs local government may need to continue some existing collection and recycling services as the Scheme is not intended, nor able, to replace these services in its early years.
  • The Scheme will collect televisions and computers, printers and computer products such as keyboards, mice and hard drives, but will not collect other e-waste that householders may want to dispose of.
  • Local government is often the first point of contact for householders who want to recycle computers and televisions, and is therefore likely to be contacted about access to recycling opportunities under the Scheme.
  • Local government is will be provided with information that can be passed on directly to householders as well as tailored for local needs.  This will include a printed brochure explaining the Scheme and answering likely questions.

As the Scheme progresses and targets increase, approved arrangements will provide additional collection and recycling options for the community and business. They will be required to provide householders and local governments with advice about the details and timing of the delivery of these services. A website will also be developed to inform people about how they can access services.

The first approved arrangements are likely to be approved by early 2012. In the meantime, local government may wish to contact or may be contacted by organisations that intend to apply for approval of a recycling arrangement to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Please contact the Department at ewaste@environment.gov.au for contact details of proposed arrangement administrators.

More information

For further information please contact ewaste@environment.gov.au  or visit http://www.environment.gov.au/ewaste

Indicative Scheme Commencement timeline

8 November 2011

Product Stewardship (Computer and Television) Regulations commenced

November 2011

Liable parties advised of their responsibilities

From November2011

Industry recycling arrangements may apply for approval and are likely to commence discussions with service delivers and key stakeholders

By 1 April 2012

Liable parties must be members of approved arrangements

April – July 2012

Progressive roll out of services nationally expected to start

June 2013

First target period  of 30% of end of life Televisions and computers must be recycled

By December 2013

Reasonable access to collection services provided across Australia

Factsheet last updated on 8 November 2011

Further information