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Tag Archives: National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme

Boosting Product Stewardship Outcomes

The Australian Government has taken a major step-up on product stewardship policy reforms and funding aimed at encouraging manufacturers, retailers and industry groups to take greater responsibility for the entire life-cycle of the products they produce and sell.

The recurring theme and expectation on product stewardship in recent announcements by the Environment Minister is clear:

“We are building more capacity in our recycling sector and we need industry and brands to take greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts,”  said Minister Ley.

The reforms and funding are also taking a broader view of what product stewardship can and should do to better manage Australia’s waste challenges and make effective use of recycled materials in manufacturing, construction and infrastructure. Circular product design, reuse, repair and increased support for new stewardship schemes are just some of the recommendations and measures that the Government is seeking enable and facilitate.

The proposals are being put forward as the Morrison Government today launches the first round of grants from its new $20 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund to ensure manufacturers, retailers and industry groups take greater responsibility for the entire life-cycle of the products they produce and sell.

Grants of up to $1 million will be available for individual applicants to expand existing schemes or develop new ones, with first round applications already open.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the fund was a critical part of the Morrison Government’s billion-dollar recycling strategy ensuring that there are clear streams for collection, processing and remanufacture.

“We are building more capacity in our recycling sector and we need industry and brands to take greater responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts,” she said.

“There will be a particular focus on e-waste, ensuring that anything with a plug or a battery is subject to an industry scheme.

“Solar panels, batteries, and even non electronic items like child car seats all have recyclable components which shouldn’t be wasted in landfill.

It’s  noteworthy to  read that the Government is using the reforms and investment to both recognise proactive product stewardship initiatives by industry, but also to formally highlight and monitor those industries and companies that move slowly, resist stewardship action and remain indifferent to their corporate social and environmental responsibility.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans explained how product stewardship schemes would reduce the impact of products on the environment and create new job opportunities for Australians.

“This funding will shift the dial in Australia as we change our mindsets to thinking about waste as a resource,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“There will be strong economic and environmental benefits from turbo-charging product stewardship.

Review of the Product Stewardship Act

The  Government also released the Review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, supporting all 26 recommendations to improve product stewardship outcomes, including:

> establishing a new Centre of Excellence to mentor and drive best practice product stewardship schemes across the nation

> broadening the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all electrical and electronic products (e-waste), so that all consumer products with a plug or battery can be recycled

> shifting the emphasis from stand-alone products to entire material streams

> reducing the costs and improving the benefits of scheme accreditation so consumers have confidence in their recycling

> strengthening the Minister’s priority products list to encourage brands to work together towards an industry-led scheme by adding clear timeframes

> calling out those letting consumers and their industry down by not participating in a scheme.

Grant applications for new Product Stewardship Investment Fund are now available at www.business.gov.au

Equilibrium has a long history of successful involvement in scheme design review, communications and auditing across various product classes, and we look forward to seeing the reforms and investment expand the diversity of measurable product stewardship activity nationwide.

To read an Equilibrium piece on Next Level Product Stewardship, follow this link.

If you are interested in the Product Stewardship Investment Fund, or need advice or assistance with your submissions and initial inquiries, we’re eager to support your efforts.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Equilibrium team on BH (03) 9372 5356.

Product Stewardship at Equilibrium

Understanding the impacts and issues of a product or material across its life-cycle is often the first step towards creating smart stewardship solutions.

The production of manufactured goods brings diverse benefit and utility across all aspects of life. It serves our everyday habits, routines and lifestyles, often with great efficiency.

These products fuel economic activity, national prosperity and meet functional requirements, however they also consume materials, energy, water and a variety of other resources – some rare, some scarce and some potentially hazardous.

On the upside, the ability to create low impact, low-waste and restorative products and services in a circular economy is however straightforward, desirable and consistent with how responsible companies operate.

Enter Equilibrium advice, strategy and technical services

We specialise in all aspects of stewardship for products, materials and services. Equilibrium is much more than consulting and advice, as it covers the full range of activities necessary to design, develop, administer, implement and evaluate successful product solutions, schemes and programs.

Importantly, Equilibrium provides end-to-end stewardship services, from tailored programs, auditing methods and engagement strategies.

How we help our customers and partners

Whether it is a regulated scheme, a voluntary industry program, or an individual business service to customers, we have the capabilities and software to assist manufacturers, importers, retailers, associations and not-for-profits to develop and execute high performance stewardship outcomes.

Our services also have relevance to federal, state, territory and local governments, especially at the intersection of stakeholder engagement, consumer education and methodologies to address downstream supply chain assurance.

We implement a life-cycle or systems approach to stewardship and associated problem-solving in the resource recovery sector, specialising in materials and operational efficiency by drawing on extensive industry, environment and government experience.

Some of our customers and partners

Equilibrium provides a wide spectrum of stewardship-based services for industry and government connecting the environment, economy, policy and community in a shared responsibility model.

Our personnel have extensive experience in product stewardship – from hands-on industry roles establishing take-back programs to strategic level research and advice. Some of the stewardship projects and programs Equilibrium staff have worked on include:

> Paintback
> Child car safety seat take-back pilot
> National Television and Computer Recycling
> Mattress stewardship scheme development
> Tyre Stewardship Australia
> Australian Packaging Covenant
> FluoroCycle
> Oil container product stewardship scheme
> Australian Tyre Recyclers Association

Equilibrium’s focus is on working collaboratively with stakeholders and equipping them to implement stewardship solutions under their own Corporate Social Responsibility programs and directives.

Review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011

The current review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, including the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, is an important opportunity for manufactures, retailers, councils, social enterprises and industry associations, to help shape the next phase of stewardship activity in Australia.

The Equilibrium team has been deeply involved in many aspects of the Act’s creation, review and ongoing implementation. That means we can help interested organisations unlock the value and benefit of what the Act can offer organisations.

In short, we can assist with the preparation of submissions, run member workshops and advise on the relevance and implications of the Act, including the potential benefits with  securing voluntary accreditation.

We welcome and encourage you to make contact with us and talk about the review process and what it means for your company, enterprise, council or association.

Remember that the deadline for submissions under the review of the Product Stewardship Act is 29 June 2018.
More information

Contact Nicholas, Damien or John for more information about our services and solutions:

Nicholas Harford
Mobile: 0419 993 234 or nick@equil.com.au

Damien Wigley
Mobile: 0404 899 961 or damien@equil.com.au

John Gertsakis
Mobile: 0409 422 089 or john@equil.com.au

 

 

Electronics in a Circular Economy

Circular thinking and the concept of closing the loop is gaining considerable momentum in some sectors and industries

While not entirely new, there is growing interest, excitement and acknowledgement that a circular economy is key to achieving a sustainable future.

Australia’s first major conference on the circular economy – Powering the Change – is about to take place in South Australia and it promises to be an agenda-setting event. On November 15-17 in Adelaide, business, government and academia come together to collaborate and discuss how the circular economy can be, and is being, implemented.

Powering the Change … will help raise awareness, build knowledge and stimulate further action in our region. Participants wıll leave the conference armed with knowledge, networks and enthusiasm to make the case for and drive circular economy approaches and projects ın their organisation or jurisdiction.

The recognition of closed loop models and approaches by key organisations such as the European Commission, WRAP and the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, has elevated the importance of why society must extract maximum value from the materials and products we consume day in day out. The need to move well beyond the linear economy should be obvious, especially if we are to avoid devouring the future.

There is a strong and optimistic sense of what can be achieved if enthusiastic collaboration can conceive and drive the myriad of solutions that are required. Positive interventions are essential across sectors, industries and communities. There is no single player that can deliver a circular economy, but there are teams of champions who can demonstrate and shape truly circular outcomes.

The challenge for all of us is to go beyond the rhetoric of closed loops and execute real-world outcomes. Dressing-up yesterday’s recycling activities certainly isn’t circular (or sustainable), especially if it’s characterised by down-cycling with low-value outcomes. Effective implementation that embodies circular economy principles will be the ultimate measure of success.

Design and designers must also feature more widely in the circular economy toolbox. Many product-related impacts are determined at the design stage, and as a consequence, impacts can be replaced with product features that are restorative and regenerative; not just ameliorative and incremental.

The European Commission talks about the circular economy and its importance as a strategic imperative, not just a one-dimensional approach to waste management:

“To ensure sustainable growth for the EU we have to use our resources in a smarter, more sustainable way. It is clear that the linear model of economic growth we relied on in the past is no longer suited for the needs of today’s modern societies in a globalised world. We cannot build our future on a ‘take-make-dispose’ model. Many natural resources are finite, we must find an environmentally and economically sustainable way of using them. It is also in the economic interest of businesses to make the best possible use of their resources.”

The  Commission’s overview is not peculiar to Europe or the northern hemisphere. Many if not all of the issues and potential benefits equally apply to Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific.

So how do we accelerate circular solutions for electronics and the rapid onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

A conference session to explore solutions for all things electronic

With our seemingly endless appetite for the latest electronic devices and their cocktail of batteries, precious metals and low value materials, identifying and exploring workable circular solutions is an urgent challenge for the electronics industry.

More specifically:

> What if we were to move beyond the mere collection and recycling of unwanted goods and consumables – and manage the entire product life cycle instead?

> What options are there for businesses that want to disrupt this dynamic?

> How can corporates change their business model? Or do regulators need to change the rules?

A dedicated session at the Adelaide conference will focus on electronic products, as well as associated consumables such as batteries. The panel of professionals from industry, government and academia will share some visions of what circular electronics could look like in Australia, along with suggestions for how we could get there.

The session will be moderated by Rose Read, CEO of DropZone by MRI, and John Gertsakis, Director of Communications at Equilibrium, who jointly bring many years of experience in the policy and practice of product stewardship. Most importantly the panel will comprise several well-informed individuals to help stimulate discussion and solicit input from conference delegates:

> Peter Brisbane, Director, Stewardship and Waste at the Department of the Environment and Energy will share a national policy perspective – reflecting on successes and challenges of Australia’s product stewardship initiatives in electronics including batteries.

> Carmel Dollisson, CEO of Australia & New Zealand Recycling Platform (TechCollect), will share how her founding companies – including Canon, DELL, HP, Fuji-Xerox and IBM – are working with councils and recyclers to ensure at least 90% of the commodities recovered from the e-waste collected across Australia are used in the manufacture of new products.

> Monique Retamal, Research Principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, will share her research into increasing product longevity, with a focus on ‘slowing’ life cycles by repairing, sharing and reusing, as opposed to the current focus on recycling, or ‘closing’ material loops.

> Glen Winkler, State General Manager, South Australia & Northern Territory in Global Enterprise and Services, Telstra Corporation. Glen will share his insights on Telstra’s Electronics Reuse and Recycling Strategy – ‘Unlocking Hidden Value’, as well as how ICT can play a wider role in delivering environmental outcomes.

Complex and challenging to say the least, but vital if we are to positively change our patterns of production and consumption to maximise resource value.

Current practices typically lean towards business as usual, however it’s time to consider how fundamental business redesign, new consumption patterns, and dynamic regulation might enable truly circular action.

Visit the conference website for more information and how to register.

 

Proposed E-waste Policy Package for Victoria

Public Consultation Commences

The Victorian Government has released a comprehensive consultation package on its proposed approach to managing e-waste in Victoria, including its commitment to ban e-waste from landfills.

The proposed approach will legally ban e-waste from landfill and specify how e-waste must be managed in Victoria from July 2018. The Victorian Government is supporting those who manage e-waste to adapt to these new regulatory requirements with a state-wide education campaign and an infrastructure support program.

The Victoria Government is seeking views and feedback from the community and industry on the package and will accept submissions until 25 January 2018.  The consultation process is being managed by the Waste and Resource Recovery team at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

The consultation package contains several draft documents covering regulatory components as well as non-regulatory measures such as infrastructure support and community education awareness activities. Feedback will be used to refine the arrangements for the ban on e-waste from landfill.

The consultation package, including all draft tools, policies and policy impact assessments can be accessed at: www.engage.vic.gov.au/waste/e-waste

Public comment and feedback from all interested parties is possible through the website.

Some key aspects of the package:

1. The package of proposed measures has been developed to reduce e-waste going to landfill, increase resource recovery and support jobs and investment in the recycling sector.

2. For the purposes of the ban, e-waste is defined as any device with a power cord or battery that is no longer wanted or useful. This definition will be further tested during the development of the education and awareness campaign.

3. It is expected that all regulatory requirements for stakeholders will take effect from July 2018. A period of 12 months post policy will allow for the completion of infrastructure upgrades to meet the required standards.

4. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will enforce the new requirements in line with their Compliance and Enforcement Policy, and take a risk-based approach. While small volumes of e-waste may filter through to landfill, the EPA will expect measures are in place to manage e-waste and prevent large quantities from entering a landfill.

5. The Victorian approach is a landfill ban or prohibition as opposed to a Product Stewardship program. It is broader than the Commonwealth’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) in that it includes all e-waste, all items with a power cord or a battery. However, the NTCRS will continue to play a core role in Victoria by ensuring recovery of a large proportion of televisions and computers in the most environmentally-sound manner. The Victorian Government has noted it will continue to advocate for expansion of the scope of the NTCRS to cover more types of e-waste.

Equilibrium is currently undertaking a detailed analysis of the package. If you have any queries or would like to discuss the package, please contact Equilibrium directly.

More information about the consultation package can be accessed at the DELWP website.

More information

John Gertsakis
Director, Communications
Equilibrium
Email: john@equil.com.au
Mobile: +61 409 422 089

 

Review of the Product Stewardship Act

Passage of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 marks a step change in resource recovery and recycling in Australia. It has provided the platform and impetus for birth of a range of programs and schemes, some aligned to the Act and some not, that aim to reduce the environmental impacts of a wide range of products.

Equilibrium welcomes the news that the Department of the Environment and Energy will be undertaking a periodic review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

This is the first review of the Act since it commenced in 2011. The review presents an excellent opportunity for industry to have their say in how they Act operates and how it might be improved to be more responsive to emerging waste challenges.

To date the Product Stewardship Act has created an effective co-regulatory product stewardship scheme for televisions and computers (NCTRS), as well as giving voluntary accreditation to mobile phone, mercury-containing lamps, batteries, waste paint and tyre product stewardship schemes.

The periodic review will consider the effectiveness of the accreditation of voluntary product schemes and the Minister’s annual product list in supporting product stewardship outcomes. It will also review international and domestic experience in product stewardship to gain practical knowledge from international experience and help tailor that knowledge to local industries.

The Department of the Environment and Energy will actively seek input from industry, state, territory and local governments and the community to ensure that it continues to deliver the best outcomes for business and the environment.

The review will commence shortly and a final written report will be provided to the Minister for the Environment and Energy in early 2018. Further information on the review can be found here.