Waste from obsolete computers and television sets (known as e-waste) is now a massive problem worldwide as reported in this recent article in The Conversation. The Australian government has recognized the importance of minimizing the environmental impact of e-waste by introducing Product Stewardship legislation which passed through the federal parliament on 8th August 2011. The legislation is part of the government’s National Waste Policy which aims to minimize dumping of e-waste in land fill and in particular, to recycle 80% of obsolete computers and TVs by 2020. Regulations for complying with the Act came into effect on 8th November 2011.
To assist industry to comply with the new legislation, Standards Australia is developing a new standard, AS/NZS 5377 – Collection, storage, transport and treatment of e-waste. The draft standard is well advanced and will be open for public comment early in 2012. The new standard will cover all forms of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) resulting from end of life products such as computers, TV sets, household appliances including white goods. It will cover the domestic and commercial sectors.