Less than two years from now, 30 per cent of televisions and computers will be recycled under the government's industry-led television and computer recycling scheme.
The legislation enabling the scheme, the Product Stewardship Act 2011, was passed earlier this year. The aim is to have 80 per cent of televisions, computers and computer products recycled by 2021-2022.
Today, the Australian Government released draft regulations for the scheme, with comment to be open on the scheme for a period of four weeks until 10 October.
Corporations that import into Australia or manufacture over 5000 computers, printers or televisions or over 15,000 computer products (such as a mouse or keyboard) will be covered by the regulations, which the government hoped to have in place by the end of this year, with recycling activities starting soon after.
Those firms must then recycle 30 per cent of all computer and television products for the 2012-2013 financial year. For products recycled, the bar has been set at using 75 per cent of recovered materials from a product based on weight.
This will involve providing "reasonable" collection services, which could include consumers submitting products by mail or courier, holding events where consumers bring in their products to recycle, or operating locations where consumers might submit products for recycling.
Reasonable is defined as at least one service for 250,000 residents in metropolitan areas, one service for each town of 10,000 people or more in inner regional areas, one service for every town of 4000 people or more in outer regional areas, and one service for every town of 2000 people or more in rural areas. (For the latter two, the service is considered valid if it is within 150km or 200km of the town, respectively.)
The percentage of computer and television products to be recycled will increase each year after 2012-2013 until the final target of 80 per cent in 2021-2022.
If corporations meet the target, up to 25 per cent of their next target can be met by the excess.
"Once fully operational, the industry-funded scheme will increase recycling rates, recover valuable resources, and reduce the amount of hazardous waste going to landfill and potentially entering the environment," Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said in a statement.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged to advise on setting the thresholds for companies to be liable for the regulation.