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ELECTRONIC WASTE OUT OF CONTROL UNLESS URGENT NATIONAL ACTION TAKEN

Electronic waste out of control unless urgent national action taken

Media Release - 11 December 2008

 

Clean Up Australia’s Chairman Ian Kiernan AO has backed calls for a national recycling scheme for electronic waste and said unless urgent action is taken the problem may get out of control. 

 

A study released this morning by the Total Environment Centre and Environment Victoria has found that over 200 million electronic or e-waste items will be dumped into landfill by 2010 unless a recycling system is put in place across the country.

 

A lack of national action electronic waste has led to unnecessary environmental damage and stalled an urgently needed recycling scheme, Mr Kiernan said.

 

“Electronic, or e-waste is the country’s fastest growing waste problem but a national approach to reuse and recycling has been stalled for four years while talks between states and the federal government go around in circles.

 

“Two million computers were sold in Australia in the last year and at the moment only 5 per cent are being recycled.

 

“Alarmingly, a further 20 per cent of obsolete computers will be put in storage and this is a ticking waste time bomb for Australia.”

 

The vast majority of electronic equipment is sent to landfill. Some metals are recovered but the remaining hazardous materials, including lead and mercury are simply sent to landfill where they can leach into soil and groundwater.

 

E-waste is currently growing at three times the level of general municipal waste. The volumes of e-waste being sent to landfill are also increasing with shorter life spans of products and increasing ownership of electrical goods.

 

“A national action plan that has product stewardship as its focus is overdue. Reducing the amount of electronic waste going to landfill through better environmental management at all stages of the life of electronic equipment is urgently needed,” Mr Kiernan said.

 

 

Media Enquiries:         Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656

 

 
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