Posts Tagged ‘Product Stewardship Act 2011’

Guest Blog – Coordination in Waste Policy

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:32 pm, August 31st, 2016Comments1

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The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Nick Harford, Managing Director of Equilibrium

The latest edition of Corporate Waste Solutions contains an article in which I argue that in Australia there are pockets of good resource recovery and product stewardship, but that more can be done.

The article points out that the resource recovery side of waste management is increasingly influenced by global factors and where the market is not delivering good waste management, where valuable resources are being lost and where health and the environment are exposed to risk, policy needs to address market failures and provide appropriate interventions.

In this regard, a key outcome of Australia’s National Waste Policy has been the Product Stewardship Act and the product stewardship schemes it has, if not directly spawned, aided. These include the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS), Paintback, FluoroCycle and Tyre Stewardship Australia, as well as endorsement for the long-running MobileMuster.

Clearly, while the performance of some schemes such as the NTCRS has attracted criticism because of failed recyclers and some poor outcomes, what cannot be refuted with respect to the schemes is this: if they were not in place e-waste and other materials would be a bigger environmental and social problem.

While the National Waste Policy may have been somewhat neglected and patchy as a vehicle for driving national coordinated approaches to a range of waste and recycling issues, product stewardship is proving to be a successful means for industry and government to establish programs that will have lasting economic, environmental and social value. For more detail, click here.

 

The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Global Product Stewardship Council. 

Nick Harford is Managing Director of Equilibrium, a Melbourne-based sustainability consulting and management company servicing a range of private companies and governments. From 2009-2014 Nick was also a director of the Metropolitan Waste Management Group. Prior to Equilibrium, Nick was Group General Manager of environment at packaging and recycling company Visy and has a background in corporate affairs, government and the media.

 

Guest Blog – Battery Stewardship Moves to the Next Stage in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:11 pm, August 13th, 2015Comments4

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and Chief Executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI). 

 

At their last meeting in July, Australian Environment Ministers agreed to continue work on an industry-driven stewardship program for handheld batteries but with a focus on hazardous and rechargeable batteries only.

This is a significant win for Energizer, Duracell and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), who have argued that battery stewardship for primary batteries would need to be regulated to ensure that all suppliers participate. During a Product Stewardship Institute battery recycling webinar (5/6 November 2014) Energizer’s spokesman advised that they had ‘zero tolerance’ for voluntary stewardship but would work with ABRI to develop a regulatory solution.

Handheld batteries are one of only two product categories that are still listed on the national ‘priority list’ for government action under the Product Stewardship Act. That list identifies products that the Minister for the Environment will consider for regulation or accreditation under the Act.

The Queensland Government is leading negotiations on the battery stewardship program on behalf of all government jurisdictions. A discussion paper, released in March 2014, outlined proposals for battery stewardship that were well received by most stakeholders but failed to secure the necessary level of industry support, particularly from primary battery manufacturers.

Following the Ministers’ decision to refine the scope to rechargeable and hazardous batteries only, a more focused proposal is expected to be developed by key industry associations and brand owners in late 2015 for broader consultation. While the exact scope of the stewardship scheme is yet to be defined, it is likely to include all handheld rechargeable batteries weighing less than 5kg as well as primary button cells. Button and coin cells have been the subject of extensive media coverage in Australia over the past two years due to an increasing number of infants and children presenting at hospitals with life threatening injuries associated with batteries.

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative will continue to advocate for ‘all battery’ recycling services because these offer the most convenient and environmentally-responsible solution for consumers. Existing battery recycling programs, which are funded by state government agencies, local councils and retailers such as ALDI and Battery World, already collect both primary and secondary batteries.

Nevertheless, the establishment of a national, voluntary stewardship scheme for rechargeable batteries would be a welcome development because it would increase industry engagement and improve the availability of recycling services. ABRI is working on a series of pilot projects for particular battery types to inform the design of a national program. The first of these, for power tool batteries, will commence in September this year.

At the same time ABRI will continue to work on regulatory options for primary batteries. These include stand-alone regulations (similar to the model legislation developed by the battery industry in the US) or extension of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include primary batteries. If discussions on a voluntary scheme for rechargeable batteries do not reach a successful outcome in 2016 then ABRI will argue that regulations should apply to all handheld batteries.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Helen Lewis is part-time chief executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative. She has been actively involved in product stewardship initiatives for plastics, packaging and batteries for over 20 years. Helen is a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group

 

Progressing Voluntary Paint Stewardship in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:28 pm, August 12th, 2015Comments1

iStock_000006361563SmallA voluntary national product stewardship scheme has moved one step closer to reality in Australia with the recent application for regulatory approval of an A$0.15/litre levy to be applied to the sale of new architectural and decorative paint in Australia.

Levy revenue would fund the not-for-profit company Paint Stewardship Ltd to administer all aspects of the collection scheme, including education, marketing and communication, R&D investment, transport and processing of waste paint from trade and domestic sources across the country.

The National Waste Paint Implementation Working Group has completed the scheme’s business plan, economic model, 5-year rollout strategy and engagement plan and voted unanimously to support an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for approval of the levy. Assuming a favourable assessment by the ACCC against the Competition and Consumer Act, the scheme is expected to commence in May 2016.

The GlobalPSC and several of our members have helped facilitate development of the scheme since Australia’s Environment Ministers agreed to place paint stewardship on their work plan in April 2013 and the Environment Minister’s June 2013 nomination of paint as a priority product under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

In conjunction with Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation, the GlobalPSC facilitated initial stakeholder discussions, featured paint and batteries in a priority product stewardship workshop and developed the public policy and business case for a voluntary paint stewardship approach in Australia. Further details and primary documents are available on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members.

 

Guest Blog – E-waste Targets Must Go Up

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:41 pm, May 14th, 2015Comments1

john_gertsakisThe Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer for Infoactiv. John is also a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group

 

Clear and logical support grows for increased recycling targets under Australia’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

Australia’s electronics recycling scheme is currently subject to an Operational Review by the Australian Government, and many stakeholders, including the Waste Management Association of Australia, are expecting the recycling targets to be sharply increased.

Anything other than a significant increase will continue to exacerbate stockpile creation, questionable recycling practices, and the appalling situation of Co-regulatory Arrangements (industry programs) terminating or minimising collection and recycling services to local councils across urban and regional Australia.

The NTCRS has achieved significant collection and recycling outcomes in a product category that was in urgent need of industry-wide Product Stewardship attention and industry support. The Product Stewardship Act and the subordinate regulations represent landmark policy reform aimed at applying the principles of Extended Producer Responsibility to unwanted, obsolete and end-of-life electronics. Infoactiv remains very supportive of the NTCRS and its achievements to date.

The majority of participating stakeholders wish to see the NTCRS expand and thrive as it continues to deliver measurable environmental, social and economic benefits. However the continuation of ‘easy-to reach’ recycling targets does nothing to demonstrate genuine CSR goals, nor do low targets address the vast volume of television and computer waste that continues to flood into landfills in all States and Territories.

We receive several calls each week from frustrated local councils that have had their collection and recycling service withdrawn by industry Arrangements under the NTCRS. And ‘frustrated’ is the polite translation of how they express their views. These are not isolated instances but a steady stream of municipalities who are now having to bear the cost burden of industry not recycling the very products that they produce and place on the market.

Most importantly, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment is perfectly placed to significantly increase the enforceable targets under the NTCRS and swiftly deal with several issues that require prompt and decisive attention.

Low-level target increases will continue to aggravate key issues at a time when the scheme needs proactive adjustment by the Australian Government. More information about the Government’s Operational Review that is currently underway can be found here.

Ongoing research and data collection by Planet Ark underscores the importance of the NTCRS given the number of public enquiries received every week wanting information about where and how to recycle unwanted televisions, computers and IT peripherals. Consumers, householders, small business and the wider public have clear expectations that manufacturers and brands in particular must play a greater role in managing the total product life cycle of their product beyond the point of sale and warranties. This merely reflects current activity in many other OECD countries.

In summary, Infoactiv believes that the NTCRS is a fundamentally sound and innovative scheme that addresses a significant and growing resource recovery imperative related to the consumption and disposal of television and IT equipment. The Department of the Environment is to be commended for its efforts in successfully launching and administering the NTCRS since inception in 2011.

Additional detail about our 10 point plan to adjust and improve the NTCRS can be found here.

We also recognise that any new, nationwide initiative such as the NTCRS will experience establishment phase glitches and minor hurdles, which only serve to inform the scheme’s long-term performance and success.

The Environment Minister’s option is very clear; sharply increase the enforceable collection targets, and do it swiftly. This will not only meet community expectation, it will also address the genuine needs of local councils nationwide, especially those that have been ignore by industry.

Most importantly, and often overlooked, is the unequivocal fact that a target increase under the NTCRS will further maximise resource recovery levels and better manage hazardous substances that are otherwise ending up in Australian landfills.

Losing such scarce and non-renewable resources at a time when the solution is available, obvious and uncomplicated would reflect poorly on the necessary policy reforms that are urgently required.

As always, greater public discussion about the NTCRS and how to achieve positive outcomes is welcome and encouraged.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council. 

John Gertsakis is a sustainability practitioner with over 20 years experience as an industry adviser, consultant and research academic. He works on a range of issues including Product Stewardship for electronics and EPR strategy, regulatory analysis, government relations and environmental communications. Through his current position as Chief Sustainability Officer with Infoactiv, John’s work is focused on strategic business development and the design of new stewardship solutions for manufactured durables.

John served as Executive Director of Product Stewardship Australia from 2006 – 2011, representing global consumer electronics brands and OEMs. He was deeply involved as a key advocate of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and sat on the Implementation Working Group for the NTCRS. He authored Australia’s first report on e-waste product stewardship in 1995 titled: Short Circuiting Waste from Electronic Products. He was also the co-author and editor of Return to Sender: An Introduction to Extended Producer Responsibility (1997). John is also Vice President of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative, and an Honorary Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia.

 

GlobalPSC Member – National E-Waste Alliance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:47 am, January 30th, 2015Comments0

Conceived in 2009 and incorporated in 2012, the National E-Waste Alliance (NEWA) exists to better enable Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) to create financially viable, sustainable EWaste recycling businesses – and provide ongoing employment opportunities to their disabled staff.

While the emergence of EWaste recycling has provided many new employment opportunities for ADE’s, the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme presents a range of management challenges for many of these small social enterprises such as compliance and reporting, procurement, logistics, cost analysis, productivity and training.

NEWA helps ADE’s navigate accreditation requirements and regulations surrounding the EWaste sector, such as the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

With collective decades of experience in the EWaste and Recycling Sectors, NEWA has proven effective in facilitating the ADE’s practical day-to-day operations in a collaborative manner so that each site is fully optimized for commercial success in a way that recognizes the core values of the enterprise – the gainful employment of people with disability.

 

FluroCycle Gains Voluntary Product Stewardship Accreditation

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:28 pm, September 12th, 2014Comments1

Sydney, Australia – Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, announced today that FluoroCycle has been formally accredited by the Federal Government as Australia’s second voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

Under FluoroCycle, organisations from the commercial and public lighting sectors (producers of 90 percent of waste lamps) commit to recycling their own mercury-containing lamps. FluoroCycle has 230 signatories including commercial users, building and facilities managers, government departments, recyclers and others involved in the recycling and re-use process.

“Fluorocycle is a good example of shared responsibility in action: the big users of lamps undertake the safe recycling of the products they use and the lighting manufacturers and importers work together through Lighting Council Australia to operate the scheme,” said Minister Hunt.

 

MobileMuster Becomes Australia’s First Accredited Voluntary Product Stewardship Scheme

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:32 pm, July 25th, 2014Comments1

DSC_3546Sydney, Australia – Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, announced today that MobileMuster, the mobile telecommunications industry’s official recycling scheme, has been formally accredited by the Federal Government as Australia’s first voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

(L-R: the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, and the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communication)

As the official accredited mobile telecommunications industry recycling program, MobileMuster and its members have committed to increase available collection rates of mobile phones from 50 to 55 per cent and volumes from 87 tonnes to 127 tonnes per year over the next 5 years, as well as increase consumer and industry engagement.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) manages MobileMuster on behalf of its members. The industry has invested over $36 million in the not-for-profit program, which is free to consumers. Since the program began, over 8.8 million handsets and batteries have been recycled, along with 550,000 kgs of accessories, which equates to nearly 1,100 tonnes of mobile phone and accessory e-waste.

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“Our members and partners work tirelessly to ensure that the promotion, collection, transportation and recycling of old mobiles is done with transparency and accountability and MobileMuster has some of the highest rates of recovery in any recycling program across the world,” said Hakan Eriksson, Deputy Chair of AMTA.

AMTA’s Recycling Manager, Rose Read (pictured L), said receiving the Government’s accreditation gave the program a green tick of approval and recognised that MobileMuster has adhered to the highest safety and ethical standards when recycling old mobiles and accessories.

“The announcement today is an honour for the mobile telecommunications industry’s product stewardship program. It recognises the leadership role MobileMuster has played over the past 16 years and our expertise in developing best practice, ethical recycling programs,” she said.

Australian Report Shows Low Handheld Battery Recycling Rate

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:15 pm, July 14th, 2014Comments2

 

Batteries cr1Australia has today released a material flow analysis showing that handheld batteries are being recycled at a rate of only 2.7 per cent.

 

Approximately 400 million handheld batteries weighing 5kg or less were sold in Australia in 2012-13. For the same time period, 14,703 tonnes of batteries were disposed of and 403 tonnes were collected for recycling. Recovery rates for sealed lead acid, nickel cadmium, lithium primary and nickel metal hydride batteries were all in the 4.4 – 5.5 per cent range, while the recovery rate for alkaline and zinc carbon batteries was estimated at 1.6 per cent.

Batteries were collected through different channels including commercial collections (139 tonnes), retail store drop-off (111 tonnes), e-waste collections (45 tonnes), household hazardous waste collections (16 tonnes) and other recovery routes (91 tonnes). The rest (14,345 tonnes) were disposed to landfill.

On a unit number basis, 90 per cent of the batteries sales proposed to be subject to the Australian product stewardship scheme are single‐use batteries and 10% are rechargeable batteries. On a weight basis, 50% are single‐use and 50% are rechargeable.

Consumption trends indicate that lithium ion batteries will continue to grow as a proportion of all battery sales, increasing from around 24 per cent in 2013 to 33 per cent in 2020.

The report, ‘Study into market share and stocks and flows of handheld batteries in Australia’, was commissioned by the Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) on behalf of Australian governments to assist in developing a national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia. Environment Ministers agreed on the need to include end-of-life handheld batteries and waste paint in the Standing Council on Environment and Water’s work plan. The Australian Government identified handheld batteries as priority products potentially covered under Australia’s Product Stewardship Act in 2013 and reaffirmed their designation in 2014.

Sustainable Resource Use (SRU), in association with Perchards Ltd and Sagis Ltd, conducted the work to provide an evidence base to inform the work of the BIWG.

The report is available to GlobalPSC members in the Knowledge Base, under the Batteries tab.

 

2013 WME Leaders List Recognises John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer of Infoactiv

Posted by GlobalPSC at 10:42 pm, July 3rd, 2013Comments0

John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer of Global Product Stewardship Council Corporate Member Infoactiv, has been named as a ‘Resources and Waste Leader’ in the 2013 WME Leaders List. This acknowledgement resulted from over 100 nominations and more than 1500 public votes. The GlobalPSC is pleased to have supported John’s nomination and see this recognition as further proof of the emergence of product stewardship.

The WME Leaders List is an annual event focused on recognising individuals and their leadership qualities. It is judged by industry experts and the WME readership, and highlights outstanding individual achievements that advance sustainability.

There is movement across the Asia Pacific region for increased e-waste recycling of unwanted electrical and electronic products, including televisions, computers, printers, appliances and batteries. In Australia, the scale of the problem is significant with an estimated 106,000 tonnes of televisions and computers (16.8 million units) reaching end-of-life in recent years, and the numbers are growing. The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme is leading the way with various industry organisations rolling out collection and recycling services across urban and regional areas.

John was involved from the outset in 2000 with early calls to establish a national approach to industry-funded e-waste recycling. Underpinned by relentless advocacy, his collaborative approach with government, industry and NGOs played a critical role in realising the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act 2011.

As part of a specialist team at Infoactiv, John’s work on e-waste recycling is now expanding into new sectors, and is aimed at helping organisations minimise business risk and environmental harm from a hybrid of products and related waste such as laptops, appliances, batteries, commercial furniture and polystyrene.

Infoactiv’s Managing Director, Helen Jarman noted that:

“John’s knowledge, history and action on product sustainability is comprehensive, and spans over a decade of consulting to brands, OEMs, industry associations and governments in Australia and New Zealand. John’s WME accolade further accentuates the quality of commitment and expertise fostered at Infoactiv in pursuit of exceeding customer expectations.”

John’s commitment to ensuring long term solutions to e-waste recycling began in 1996 with Australia’s first comprehensive report on e-waste titled ‘Short Circuiting Waste from Electrical and Electronic Products’, published by RMIT University. He also advised the consumer electronics industry on the development of TV recycling in Australia.

John’s work on environmental stewardship has been further highlighted through his appointment to the Australian Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Group, where his experience is directly relevant to recommending new products and wastes that could be addressed under the Product Stewardship Act.

In response to the Leaders List accolade, John said that:

“Being a WME Resources and Waste Leader is a wonderful honour and I feel truly humbled. More importantly it keeps product stewardship and e-waste recycling on the agenda. It also demonstrates that our customers and their investment in product recovery results in broader social, economic and environmental benefit.”

Global Product Stewardship Council CEO Russ Martin, nominated by peers to the Leaders List in the same category and also serving on the Product Stewardship Advisory Group, supported John’s win, saying,

“I have had the good fortune to work closely with John over the years, and was honoured to be nominated in the same category. John has long been a leader in product stewardship and is truly deserving of this broader recognition. We benefit from having strong GlobalPSC members such as John and Infoactiv, and we look forward to their ongoing contributions in our field.”   

Convergence of Product Stewardship and Zero Waste at Zero Waste Summit

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:34 am, November 9th, 2012Comments0

Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, addresses the Zero Waste Summit in Melbourne, Australia. Senator Farrell, who led the passage through Parliament of Australia’s Product Stewardship Act 2011, cited bipartisan support for the Act and updated attendees on product stewardship developments in Australia, including the new TV and computer recycling scheme.

Global Product Stewardship Council President Russ Martin chaired the first day of the Zero Waste Summit and presented the GlobalPSC perspective on global developments in product stewardship. Other speakers on product stewardship included representatives of the Australian Government, Fuji Xerox, ANZRP and Australian Packaging Covenant. The GlobalPSC was a proud supporter of the Summit.

The Australian Government has worked in collaboration with the GlobalPSC, from being one of the GlobalPSC’s first government members and an International Speaker Sponsor for the inaugural International Product Stewardship Summit, to seeking GlobalPSC input into the development of product stewardship legislation. We are certainly grateful for the Australian Government’s ongoing support.

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