Australian Parliament Passes Product Stewardship Law With Initial E-waste Focus

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MELBOURNE, Australia—Australia's Parliament June 22 passed legislation that provides a framework for product-specific voluntary and mandatory stewardship schemes.

The Product Stewardship Act will take effect shortly, once the procedural step of Royal Assent is completed, and the first scheme operating under it will deal with end-of-life computers and televisions.

The act allows for recognition of three types of product-specific stewardship schemes. It sets out procedures for accrediting voluntary, industry-run schemes and specifies requirements for co-regulatory ones that are jointly operated by industry and government and for mandatory programs imposed by government. Regulations under the act will specify the details of each co-regulatory or mandatory scheme.

As a result of Senate amendments, schemes recognized by the act can be developed only for products that contain hazardous substances, or where there is potential to “significantly increase” the recovery of materials or energy, or where there is scope to “significantly reduce” the effects on the environment or human health and safety.

The minister will annually publish a list of products under consideration for stewardship schemes and will take advice from a new Product Stewardship Advisory Group.

The government earlier this year released a consultation paper on regulations for a national take-back scheme for end-of-life televisions and computers (34 INER 345, 3/30/11).

By Murray Griffin

Full text of the bill and related information is available at;query=Id%3A%22legislation%2Fbillhome%2Fs824%22 .