New standards for e-waste handling

Standards Australia has announced a new Australia/New Zealand standard for electronic waste to help reduce e-waste going into landfill.

The joint Australian and New Zealand Standard, ‘AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment’, will outline minimum requirements for the safe and environmentally sound handling of e-waste.

Standards Australia CEO Colin Blair said the standard sets out principles and minimum requirements for end-of-life electrical equipment in order to maximize re-use, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, safeguard worker health, and minimize environmental harm.

“The standard states that a lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation or adverse health and safety effects. The standard sends a strong message regarding the environmental concerns of e-waste,” he said.

The standard will also enhance existing environmental protections and international obligations on management of hazardous wastes and pollutants.

Senator Don Farrell, federal parliamentary secretary for sustainability and urban
Water, said the standard aligns the Australian Government’s goal e-waste management.

“Householders and businesses can drop off unwanted e-waste products confident that the valuable materials they contain will be recovered, and that any hazardous materials will not enter the environment,” he said.

“The standard also provides environmentally-effective guidelines for industry and will help ensure that, from 1 July 2014, at least 90 per cent of all materials in e-waste collected under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme are recovered for use in new products.”

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