Garrett without an e-waste plan

1.6 Million computers are dumped into landfill every year in Australia. So called “e-waste” is growing at 3 times the rate of general waste. Much of this waste can be economically recycled, and yet, Federal Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett says he has no proposals on how to fix the problem.

Environment groups are demanding the government implement a mandatory deposit scheme like the bottle recycling scheme in South Australia (which begs the question why Minister Garrett isn’t looking to federalise that either!), and I can see some merit in that proposal. Still, its odd that he isn’t pushing for it now, as he when he was the head of the ACF, he was pushing hard for the scheme.

WSN Environmental in Sydney recently offered to collect e-waste for recycling, staging a 2 week trial to see how it would go. They collected a staggering 17 Tons of e-waste in just those two weeks. The fact is that the public wants to recycle, and government only needs to help make it easier.

Then there is Free Collect, based in Toowoomba, who are trying to build a recycling business and clean up the e-waste problem in South East Queensland. But startups like these are running into ridiculous government red tape. One local council, for example, after being offered the Free Collect service (which is to pickup all their e-waste and recycling it at no charge to the council), demanded that Free Collect pay thousands of dollars in licensing fees. Seriously. The council wanted them to pay for the privilege of taking council waste away.

Then we have other problems. A lot of the recycling could be done in Australia, however to do so requires building plant and equipment to process the waste. Small startups like Free Collect don’t have the capital to make that happen, so they are shipping the waste overseas for processing.

Here’s an idea; how about Mr Garrett funds programs with local councils to provide e-waste collection services? Provide the infrastructure to support the collection and consolidation of this waste, so that recycling firms can concentrate on what they do best?

Further to that, how about we offer grants to these startups to setup the plant required to recycle the waste here? Surely that is in the best interests of our local economy, as well as the environment?

If you’d like to add some weight to the call for government action on the subject of e-waste, you can just download my form letters; I have sent them on my own behalf to the relevant ministers, and you can just insert your details and mail them off. Feel free to change the text if you think differently than I do on the subject.

Letter to Federal Minister for the Environment
Letter to Queensland Minister for Sustainability, Climate and Innovation

2 Responses to “Garrett without an e-waste plan”

  1. Trevor Hold Says:

    17 tonne in two weeks from WSN enviromental is nothing to the 15 tonne we collected in under a day in Toowoomba. Other collection days have netted around 10 tonnes in a single day in 3month intervals.

    Please before discussing my business please discuss your thoughts or ideas with me. I am playing a very political game in setting up my recycling and critising councils will only get them further of side. we need to encourage good publicity from the councils who are being helpful. we are dealing with councils throughout Queensland and a few a making a huge effort to be supportive. We need to publish the positive reactions.

    thanks for your time Trevor Hold

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