Opportunities and constraints for developing a sustainable E-waste management system at local government level in Australia
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E-waste refers to both electronic and electrical waste materials; namely any items which rely on an electric current or electromagnetic fields in order to operate, and contain a hard-drive or significant electronic components and/or a printed circuit board. E-waste is outstripping the general growth of the municipal waste stream. Increasingly, smaller and cheaper electronic items are being disposed of in municipal waste systems and this, coupled with an increase in the number of, and turnover of manufacturers and suppliers, may see local councils assuming a key role in future e-waste management. A survey of local councils across Australia was undertaken to determine the current level of understanding and action on e-waste, and to solicit key responses regarding the identification of areas where improvements could be made. The survey achieved an overall response rate of 35%. Survey results identified key barriers experienced by councils regarding the collection and treatment of e-wastes, such as access to reprocessing facilities and the limited or complete unawareness by the public of the issues. With regards to who should pay for e-waste disposal at end-of-life, consumers and producers were most commonly cited, depending on the state with the preferred funding mechanisms being 'advanced recycling fee' and Expanded Producer Responsibility. Overwhelmingly, 88% of respondents believed that federal legislation was required to manage e-waste. Overall, the results did not indicate differences in views between states for most questions.
Waste Management and Research
Copyright 2009 The Authors. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified