E-waste lobby dumps toxic PCs on government doors

The Total Environment Centre (TEC) dumped a truckload of toxic computers on the doorstep of the New South Wales Department of Environment on Thursday ahead of a planned meeting to be held Friday with state and federal Ministers.

Later today the Environment Protection and Heritage Council will meet with Australia’s environment ministers to discuss the failure of computer manufacturers to adopt take-back schemes for recycling.

TEC campaigner Jane Castle said toxic e-waste is being dumped on future generations by the governments failure to act. “Industry has failed to act and we’re bringing the problem to the attention of governments: millions of computers are sent to landfill each year in Australia and they all contain hazardous substances and valuable, non-renewable resources,” she said. “The time for toxic business is over.”

TEC has called on state and federal governments to urgently act adding that the NSW Government should make use of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act.

“Computer manufacturers have failed in the last five years to develop a viable voluntary scheme,” Castle said. “When compared to other developed countries and their computer recycling laws, Australia has a primitive approach. We need to catch up.

“The failure of the computer industry to come up with a voluntary approach is a key test for the NSW Government’s waste policy, with elections on the way.

“After five years the Government is running out of excuses not to regulate. The toxic time-bomb is ticking.”

Castle said at the very least the federal government must cooperate by providing customs data so state regulators can track computer importers.

A number of computer vendors currently run recycling initiatives including HP, Dell and IBM.

By the end of 2007, HP will have recycled nearly half a billion kilograms of IT equipment globally.

Dell, with partner Dell Financial Services, has provided PC recycling in 30 countries, and has operated in Australia since 2003.

Similarly, IBM has a Global Asset Recovery Service allowing companies to recycle IT equipment or donate to a charity.

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