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ELECTRONIC WASTE TO SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL UNLESS NATIONAL ACTION TAKEN

Media Release 8 November, 2008

South Australia’s decision to go it alone on banning electronic waste from landfill should now add pressure on the Federal Government to fast-track a national scheme for recycling Australia’s fastest growing waste problem, Clean Up Australia said today.

The country’s state and federal environment ministers met in Adelaide yesterday but failed to agree on a national approach to electronic waste, or e-waste, despite four years of talks and negotiations.
 
Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO congratulated South Australia for again demonstrating leadership on crucial waste issues but also expressed concern that e-waste is a problem that will spiral out of control without a national approach.
 
“Between 1980 and 2011, Australians will have purchased 45 million computers. Based on current estimates, the majority of these - 24 million in total - will end up in landfill.
 
“This will amount to 2.2 million cubic metres of waste or enough to fill 1000 Olympic swimming pools. It will contain significant amounts of toxic materials, such as lead and cadmium, and 30 percent of it will be plastic.
 
“This is Australia’s fastest growing waste problem and it will spiral out of control unless a national approach to product stewardship is urgently put in place.”
 
Mr Kiernan also highlighted that Australia lags well behind other countries such as Japan, the United States and European Union nations in having a national scheme for dealing with e-waste.
 
Mr Kiernan said the South Australian government had come up with an innovative plan that would reduce the amount of e-waste being sent to landfill.
 
“Prohibiting the disposal of e-waste in landfill is a commendable initiative from the South Australian government, and I would urge the other states, but particularly the Federal Government to follow this lead.”
 
 
Further information:            Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656

 
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