Waste management is an issue that our generation must face. And while the greatest progress has been seen in the last ten years, we still have a way to go before reversing some of the harm inflicted on our planet. In June of 2019, Victoria will see changes to waste management policies, specifically e-waste.
The broad objective of the waste policy changes
The objectives of the new waste policies are clear: appropriately manage e-waste in Victoria to avoid e-waste from entering the landfill. This is no longer a strong recommendation, but rather a statewide ban. In doing so, e-waste recovery should strive to maximize all materials and parts that make up the waste. The policy stipulates that all efforts should be taken to reduce (if not eliminate) any risk to the environment and human health from e-waste. All subsequent efforts and initiatives should be documented and available publicly to demonstrate compliance in this new policy.
What is e-waste?
If you are unsure where the waste ends and e-waste begins, here is the definition. E-waste is waste in the form of electrical or electronic equipment. This could be a device or an appliance identifying as such, or anything that generates or transfers an electric current or an electromagnetic field. As we have discussed in preceding articles, the average household will have more than one used mobile phone and electric device that is in need of safe and compliant disposal. This is where TechCollect and future initiatives are leading the way.
What is now required of e-waste service providers?
Now that e-waste is being banned from landfill, collection parameters will change. While these changes will have a ripple effect for the average individual, the main changes will be seen for e-waste service providers. Going forward in June of 2019, e-waste service providers must only store e-waste for purposes of transfer, recycling or reprocessing. Providers must also minimise the duration of e-waste kept onsite, keep a record of its description and transportation, and record the recovery rate of the e-waste.
A step in the right direction
Further to the change in policy, all existing policies must be revised to include clauses about e-waste and its elimination from landfill. Close the Loop has made large strides in providing a solution to excess e-waste, and now policy change will support that mission with tighter restrictions on incorrectly disposed waste. Now that robust guidelines have been set out, there could likely be more e-waste service providers established to take on the waste management directives.
By July of 2019, ensure that you are disposing of your e-waste with an approved e-waste service provider. Victoria has led the way in many recycling initiatives, working to repurpose e-waste into future technologies. With greater access to e-waste, there is greater access to precious materials and parts that can be reused.