News

Council joins war on problem waste

By Lachlan Durling

CAMPASPE Shire Council has made a submission to the Department of Environment and Energy on the Product Stewardship Act review, noting support and offering suggestions for broader action on future schemes.

Mayor Adrian Weston said input was sought from industry, governments and the general public to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the Act — an approach to better manage the environmental impact of different products and materials. Product stewardship is an environmental management approach whereby producers, distributors and consumers of products are responsible for minimising the environmental impact of a product through its lifecycle.

“Council is very supportive of the principles of product stewardship and strongly supports the expansion of schemes to deliver the best outcomes for businesses, consumers and the environment,” Cr Weston said.

“Current waste and resource recovery systems provide little or no incentive for these groups to take responsibility for the environmental impacts and instead, ratepayers are left bearing the cost regardless of their individual consumption choices.

“It is council’s opinion that these groups bear the financial responsibility for resource recovery and waste management and not solely ratepayers.”

Council’s submission covered 15 recommendations, with a key point highlighting the need for the introduction of schemes to include batteries, solar panels, electrical and electronic products, plastic oil containers, tyres, mattresses and bases, couches, fridges, freezers, air conditioners, paint, lighting, wooden pallets and timber packing, rigid plastics (toys etc) and plastic furniture, textiles including clothing and carpet and PVC. These ‘problem waste items’ are either sent to landfill or attract a fee for recovery at council’s resource recovery centres due to costs associated with disassembling, processing, degassing or transporting.

Other recommendations included:

■Expand coverage of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include all other electrical and electronic products

■Complete ban on the sale of all products that contain plastic microbeads

■Immediate phase out of expanded polystyrene products and packaging

■A mandatory 100 per cent recycling target of all packaging by the year 2020

More information on the review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 is available at environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/product-stewardship