Parliament has passed legislation that would see a national television and computer recycling scheme phased in from the end of the year.
The Product Stewardship Bill 2011 paves the way for industry-led recycling in the hopes of reducing Australia's growing pile of e-waste.
"Product stewardship means that everyone involved in the production, supply and use of the products we consume shares responsibility for those products — from the point of design and manufacture through to disposal. Enshrining this principle in legislation delivers a key component of the Australia’s long-term National Waste Policy," parliamentary secretary for sustainability and urban water Don Farrell said in a statement.
The Bill sets out three different set-ups for recycling schemes, being voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory. The recycling of televisions and computers would be co-regulatory, with requirements set by government regulation and the implementation of the scheme led by industry.
The government is currently consulting with industry and "other stakeholders" on regulations to underpin the scheme, according to the parliamentary secretary, which he expected to be completed in the second half of the year.
The government is also working with stakeholders on voluntary schemes for tyres and mercury-containing lights. Under the Bill, voluntary schemes would be able to be accredited.
"There will be an opportunity to seek accreditation for both new and existing schemes," Farrell said.
"The Gillard Government is committed to sustainability and responsible environmental management. The passage of the Product Stewardship Bill through the Australian Parliament heralds a new, efficient and environmentally responsible approach to waste management in Australia."