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Product Stewardship Obligations Likely to Increase in Australia

Product Stewardship Obligations Likely to Increase in Australia

Lisa Dean Profile Image
by Lisa Dean, April 2019
Lisa is the Head of Global Compliance in Thinkstep's global EPR compliance division and has over 7 years experience as a Compliance Consultant.
 A report published in 2017 by the Global E-waste Monitor 2017 found that Australia and other nations of Oceania were the highest per capita e-waste generators, with only six per cent formally collected and recycled. 

The Australian Department of Environment and Energy is currently reviewing the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and government and industry are working on a scheme to manage end-of-life handheld batteries. Further, a new organisation, E-Waste Watch, has been formed in Australia to promote electronics sustainability, proactive stewardship and robust circular solutions across the product life-cycle. E-Waste Watch is a not-for-profit research organisation that will carry out policy review and regulatory analysis. 

What does this mean for you? 


Potential for increased scope of covered products 

Currently, a very narrow scope of electronics is covered under the Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations which is enacted under the Product Stewardship Act, 2011: 

·        televisions 
·        computers manufactured outside Australia 
·        printers 
·        computer parts or peripherals 

The Ewaste Watch Institute states that "Ewaste Watch is calling on the Federal Environment Minister to expand the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all products with a plug or a battery and ensure that end-of-life electronics are diverted from landfill and responsibly recycled. This should include all consumer electronics products, Internet of Things devices, and photovoltaic panels, inverters and energy storage systems." 

The Department of Environment and Energy is currently conducting a review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, including the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. If you sell electrical and electronic products in Australia, you should monitor whether the types of products you sell in Australia come into scope of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. 

Batteries regulations 

There are currently no collection or recycling obligations placed on batteries producers in Australia. Batteries have been included in product lists of consideration for product stewardship approaches from 2013-14 to 2017-18. Presently, industry and governments are working on a scheme to manage end-of-life handheld batteries, including rechargeable and hazardous single-use batteries. 

"As a matter of urgency, Ewaste Watch is calling on the Federal Environment Minister to create a regulated national recycling scheme for all handheld batteries (single-use and rechargeables) under the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act." 

If you sell batteries in Australia, you should monitor whether a scheme covering the types of batteries you sell is implemented. 

How can we help? 


We can monitor the regulatory changes in Australia for you. EC4P offers an annual update service specific to your company, taking into account your company’s sales arrangements and products to notify you if you need to put in place or modify compliance arrangements. Please contact us if you would like more information on this service and how else we can manage your e-waste, batteries and packaging compliance obligations.