Project on Consumer Electronics

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Managing End-of-Life Consumer Electronics
               in Victoria:
   A Pilot Product Stewardship Project

  An initiative of the Consumer Electronics Suppliers
 Association: A Forum of the Australian Electrical and
         Electronic Manufacturers’ Association
This Project is proudly supported by EcoRecycle Victoria

                       May 2003

Glossary of e-waste acronyms                             2
Foreword                                                 3
Project Committee                                        5
1. Introduction                                          6
   1.1. Aims, Objectives and outcomes of pilot project   6
      1.1.1. Aims                                        6
      1.1.2. Objectives                                  7
      1.1.3. Outcomes                                    8
   1.2. Project Description                              9
      1.2.1. The geographic region                       9
      1.2.2. The project partners                        10
  Roles/expectations                   11
   1.3. Benchmarking                                     13
2. Background and international context                  14
   2.1. Drivers                                          14
   2.2. Responses worldwide                              17
   2.3. Foresight and trends in consumer electronics     20
      2.3.1. Size and Mass                               20
      2.3.2. Display technology                          21
      2.3.3. Materials and Design Considerations         21
      2.3.4. Cost and value                              22
      2.3.5. Impact of Digital Broadcasting              22
3. Methodology                                           23
   3.1. General Approach                                 23
   3.2. Technical                                        23
      3.2.1. Infrastructure development                  24
  Equipment design                     24
  Handling procedures                  25
  Collection                           26
  Processing                           27
  Tracking, monitoring and reporting   30
   3.3. Marketing                                        31
      3.3.1. Communications plan                         31
      3.3.2. Staff Education and involvement             34
      3.3.3. Data collection and feedback                35
   3.4. Liaison, reporting and extension of project      37
   3.5. Limitations                                      38
      3.5.1. Design for Environment                      38
      3.5.2. Cost of Recovery and Processing             38
4. Collection and Processing                             39
   4.1. Units collected                                  39
      4.1.1. Types of equipment collected                39
      4.1.2. Materials derived                           41
      4.1.3. Collection trends                           41
      4.1.4. Source of units                             42
 Hardwaste / kerbside                  43
 Charitable organisations              43
 Retailers and estate agents           43
 Service centres and rental outlets    44
 Transfer stations                     46
      4.1.5. Other potential sources of TVs              49
 Retailers                             49
 Estate agents                         50
 Charities                             51
 Kerbside                              51
   4.2. Costs                                            51
      4.2.1. Overall costs                               51
      4.2.2. Costs to recycler                           52
 Capital costs (plant and equipment)   52
 Cost per unit                         53
 Collection and transport              53
 Processing                            53
 Marketing (publicity and signage)     55
5. Media and Community                                   56
   5.1. Community Awareness and Action                   56
      5.1.1. InfoLine                                    57
       5.1.2. Focus Groups                                        58
  Participation in recycling                    58
  Current disposal and recycling practices
                       for appliances and TVs                     58
  Environmental impacts of appliances and TVs   60
  Costs of recycling appliances                 61
  Responsibility for recycling                  63
  Options for a TV collection program           64
  Education                                     65
   5.2. Media Coverage                                            66
6. Conclusions and Recommendations                                68
   6.1. Introduction                                              68
   6.2. Handling, Collection and Transportation                   69
       6.2.1. General                                             70
       6.2.2. Transportation                                      77
       6.2.3. Disassembly and processing issues                   77
   6.3. R&D and Market Development issues                         80
       6.3.1. Connecting to International Research Initiatives    81
   6.4. Commercial issues                                         84
   6.5. Community Awareness and Action                            88
   6.6. Stakeholder Relations and Responsibilities                90

Appendix A: Global Activity on E-Waste                            96
Appendix B: TV project communications plan                        108
Appendix C: Media Coverage                                        111
Appendix D: Notice to Transfer Station staff                      121
Appendix E: InfoLine Results                                      126
Appendix F: TV Pilot Focus Group                                  128
Appendix G: Tranfer Station Interviews                            131
Appendix H: Service Centre/Retail Outlet Survey                   139
Appendix I: Product Collected by brand                            143
Appendix J: Stillage specifications                               144
Glossary of E-waste Acronyms

AGO            Australian Greenhouse Office
AEEMA          Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association
AMTA           Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
CESA           Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association
CRC            Co-operative Research Centre
CRT            Cathode Ray Tube
CSIRO          Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
DfE            Design for Environment
EEP            Electrical and Electronic Product
EMS            Environmental Management Systems
EMAS           Eco-Management and Audit Scheme
EPA            Environmental Protection Agency
EoL            End-of-life
EPR            Extended Producer Responsibility
ISO            International Organisation for Standardization
LCA            Life Cycle Assessment
LCD            Liquid Crystal Display
NCEL           National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (US)
NEPSI          National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (US)
OECD           Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OEM            Original Equipment Manufacturer
SPD            Sustainable Product Development
SRI            Socially Responsible Investment
SVTC           Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
TAFE           Training and Further Education institutes
TBL            Triple Bottom Line
TS             Transfer station
MPIRP          Mobile Phone Industry Recycling Program
PCs            Personal Computers (including laptops)
PCBs           Polychlorinated biphenyls
VCR            Video Cassette Recorder
WEEE           Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment


Electronic Waste Demands a Collaborative Approach

Sustainability is a common goal that should unite industry, government and the community.

While the reality of applying the principles of sustainable development remains a significant
challenge to all, many noteworthy steps and achievements have been secured. A particularly
important development has been the recognition of life-cycle thinking and the need to consider the
total environmental impact of products and services – from cradle to grave.

The life-cycle concept is especially relevant to electronics and the overall proliferation of
consumer electronics, IT equipment and mobile communications. Managing the product life-
cycle of a television, VCR or computer monitor, is becoming a major environmental objective for
all concerned – producers and consumers. The design of energy efficient, low waste products,
together with the use of benign manufacturing materials, is helping minimise environmental
impacts as well as increase resource use efficiency and long term profitability.

Few would argue against the need to develop sensible solutions for such products when they
reach end-of-life (EoL), yet the reality of implementing sustainable recovery and recycling
schemes is piecemeal and layered with complexity. This is clearly reinforced by the experiences
of the European Commission and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

How we effectively manage discarded electronics or e-waste in Australia has also emerged as a
priority for industry and government. The TV pilot project coordinated and co-funded by
AEEMA and CESA highlights a major commitment to the concept of product stewardship and
more importantly demonstrates a serious contribution to practical implementation. EcoRecycle
Victoria has also engaged with the e-waste challenge by sharing its expertise and co-funding the
pilot project. Their foresight and support has been an enabling factor. Other members of the
project team such as MRI Australia, Least waste and the Centre for Design at RMIT University,
have also played a significant part in conducting, promoting and evaluating the project.

The inherent collaborative approach between all the participating stakeholders, underscores the
value of sharing information, knowledge, data and responsibility within the context of managing
e-waste. This ‘shared product responsibility’ model not only reflects global trends in managing e-
waste , it also offers an enduring solution that has the potential to deliver environmental, economic
and social benefits.

This report features numerous recommendations specifically focussed on actions that extend
beyond the pilot project region. More importantly the project will generate several significant
actions that can result in long term solutions that divert e-waste away from landfill and into more
productive and value-adding processes. In partnership with the community and government,
AEEMA and CESA look forward to an optimistic scenario where e-waste is transformed into
clean resources and productive manufacturing inputs.

Robert Wooley
President, Consumer Electronic Suppliers Association (CESA)
May, 2003.

Project Committee

Ms Meredith Banks & Ms Claire Brett
Project Managers
EcoRecycle Victoria

Dr James Galloway
Director—Technical Policy and Regulatory, AEEMA
Secretary, CESA

Mr John Gertsakis
Director, Product Ecology Pty Ltd
Senior Associate, RMIT University
Photography in report supplied courtesy of John Gertsakis, Product Ecology Pty Ltd

Mr Will LeMesurier
MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd

Ms Helen Lewis
Centre for Design, RMIT University

Mr Bill McVeigh
Manager, Product Procurement, OQ and Regulatory Affairs
NEC Australia

Mr Graeme Stewart
Executive Officer

Ms Peppi Wilson
Manager, Projects and Environment

Mr Robert Wooley
Manager, Engineering and Approvals Technical Services Division
Sharp Corporation of Australia

1. Introduction

1.1.    Aims, Objectives & Outcomes of pilot project

1.1.1. Aims

The project was undertaken with the
aim of gathering data and insight on
the recovery and processing of
consumer electronics. Many of the
companies that supported the project
financially already have in place
substantial investments in their
international design and production
facilities to support the production of product in a manner that reduces their environmental
impact. These design and production techniques are not amenable to direct influence in Australia.
For this reason the most fundamental concern of the project was recovery and processing at EoL.
In this context the aim of the project was directed towards laying the foundations for a more
comprehensive scheme that could be progressively rolled out to meet the need for a more
thorough approach to managing consumer electronics at EoL.

At the outset of the project many questions were identified as unanswered. These spanned a wide
range of relevant matters including:

•   Technology
•   Recovery options
•   Processing options
•   Materials composition
•   Institutional and jurisdictional issues
•   Consumer attitudes
•   Supply chain issues
•   Financial considerations

Each of these posed significant questions for the development of a ‘product stewardship’
approach to consumer electronics that it was and is considered essential for there to be a deeper
understanding and awareness before any commitment could be given to an ongoing program.
The broadest project aim relates to the development of sustainable solutions that can help reduce
and ultimately eliminate hazardous substances from EoL electronic products (or e-waste) entering
landfill and presenting ecological or human health problems.

The key project objectives centred around actions and information gathering that would enable
AEEMA and its project partners to investigate the dynamics, challenges, barriers, opportunities
and options, associated with the recovery and recycling of used or EoL visual displays (mostly
TVs) and to a lesser extent, VCRs. It was envisaged that a collaborative approach with
involvement from several relevant stakeholders would be able to effectively test and review how
a small scale TV recycling scheme would operate in the Least waste region of eastern
metropolitan Melbourne.

The pilot project could then form the basis of a more enduring and potentially expandable
program based on the principles of shared product responsibility and product stewardship.
Integral to the process were the issues of replicability and how a more comprehensive consumer
electronics recycling scheme could be progressively ‘rolled-out’ in other regions, cities and
States. In other words, the TV Pilot Project was eager to explore how the rhetoric of product
stewardship and life-cycle thinking could be applied to the development, implementation and
review of a real world electronics recovery and recycling scheme, within a commercial context.

1.1.2. Objectives

The project team formulated the following specific project objectives in order to meet the aim of
the project:

a) Explore community awareness, attitudes and knowledge associated with TV recycling
b) Review and evaluate onsite handling, collection and transportation issues
c) Explore awareness, attitudes and knowledge of transfer station operators in relation to TV
d) Develop and evaluate suitable disassembly and processing technology

e) Evaluate the economics of extracting secondary materials and wastes from e-waste, including
       likely future market developments for these materials and wastes
f) Evaluate the overall economic performance of the TV Recycling Pilot project
g) Review stakeholder relations and responsibilities
h) Review policy, market and institutional barriers and opportunities relevant to, and impinging
       on the pilot project and electronics recovery and recycling in general
i)     Generate knowledge, data and information, that would further support the ‘roll-out’ of TV
       (and other consumer electronics) recycling in other regions, cities and states

1.1.3. Outcomes

The key outcomes of the project at its conclusion can be summarised as follows:

§      Diversion of 3,500 TVs, computer monitors
       and VCRs in the period funded by the pilot 1
§      Report documenting and evaluating a diverse
       range of information, data and knowledge
       acquired during the course of the pilot project,
       including recommendations on future
       expansion of the scheme
§      Development of a product handling an
       processing system for collection, disassembly,
       processing and recycling
§      Foundations for the development of an
       industry-agreed collection and recycling
       scheme for consumer electronics
§      Capacity handling development for up to
       100,000 units per annum.

    This includes product diverted from Sept 01 – Sept 02, though the pilot officially only ran for 6 months.

1.2.     Project Description

The pilot took place in Eastern metropolitan Melbourne, covering both urban and rural areas.
Officially, the project ran for six months. However, collection and processing were funded for a
further six months (until funds ran out) to assist with the processing of product recovered in
response to the advertising in the official project period, but which was received after the trial had
officially ended. A detailed description of the pilot region and the partners involved is provided

1.2.1. The geographic region

The pilot project was undertaken across the eastern suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne. This
covers five council areas, stretching from the inner-east medium density suburban areas in
Whitehorse and Manningham, to rural areas in Yarra Ranges.

The five municipalities form the Eastern Regional Waste Management Group, which uses the
trading name of ‘Least waste’. Least waste and its five member councils - the Cities of Knox,
Manningham, Maroondah and Whitehorse, and the Shire of Yarra Ranges - are responsible for
ensuring that facilities and services for managing litter and waste are available to the community.

The geographic region covered by Least waste stretches from highly urbanised and residential
suburbs such as Box Hill, Blackburn and Mitcham at the western edge of the region, through to
urban – rural fringe suburbs such as Lilydale, Coldstream and Lysterfield. At the far eastern edge
of the Least waste region i.e. Healesville, and Warburton, land use is dominated by agricultural
and horticultural activities as well as considerable tracts of public land in the form of nature
reserves and parks. Population densities across the region are highest at the eastern edge and
decrease considerably at the far eastern edge i.e. Shire of Yarra Ranges.

The total area of the Eastern Region is 2815 square kilometres, of which Yarra Ranges accounts
for over 2400 square kilometres. The population, which is growing at about 2.6% per year,
comprises over 652,000 people, split as follows:

•   148,000 in Knox
•   111,000 in Manningham

•   100,000 in Maroondah
•   145,000 in Whitehorse
•   137,000 in Yarra Ranges

For more detailed information about Least waste or individual municipalities refer to the
following web sites, where specific demographic information is available.

•   Least waste:
•   City of Knox:
•   City of Manningham:
•   City of Maroondah:
•   City of Whitehorse:
•   Shire of Yarra Ranges:

1.2.2. The project partners

Six organisations joined as project partners for the pilot, combining to form a team with the range
of expertise necessary to effectively assess and address the issues associated with running a pilot
project. Each partner brought with it its own expectations of the project and reason for getting
involved. These are described below.

The partners were:
•   The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA)
•   The Consumer Electronics Suppliers’ Association (CESA)
•   EcoRecycle Victoria
•   MRI Australia Pty Ltd
•   Least waste
•   The Centre for Design at RMIT

                                                                                                   10    Roles/expectations

AEEMA and its partner association, CESA, saw the project as an opportunity to proactively
address the issues associated with the disposal of electronic waste in Australia, using the results
of the pilot project as a model for national implementation. As project managers and facilitators
for the project, the Associations were keen to develop partnerships; to work with government and
other stakeholders to obtain the knowledge and experience which would allow the development
of a viable and cost-efficient national recovery and recycling program tailored to Australia’s
needs. AEEMA and CESA member companies participating in the pilot project were:

Hitachi                                                Philips
LG Electronics                                         Samsung Electronics
Mitsubishi Electric                                    Sanyo
NEC                                                    Sharp
Panasonic                                              Sony

EcoRecycle Victoria

EcoRecycle Victoria saw this project as an opportunity for a co-operative approach between
government and industry to investigate a problematic waste stream. The key outcomes for the
project included:
•   Development of an industry-agreed browngoods collection and processing scheme
•   Diversion of 2,000 TVs/VCRs during the pilot period
•   Capacity to collect, disassemble and process up to 100,000 units per annum
•   Report detailing success of the pilot project and information on future expansion of the

MRI Australia
MRI Australia Pty Ltd is recognised as a leader in the environmental management of used
electronic products in Australia and is currently providing e-waste management services for
Compaq Australia, AMTA Mobile Phone Industry Recycling Program and IBM.

Although there is currently no legislation prohibiting Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) entering landfill
in Australia, it is recognised that there are long-term environmental issues associated with
incorrectly disposed CRTs. MRI is therefore
keen to develop an in-country solution to
the problem in Australia, to ensure a stable,
well-developed solution is in place.

MRI has operations in NSW and Victoria.
The NSW operation was Australia’s first
CRT recycling facility, designed to process
computer monitors. The Melbourne CRT
processing operation was opened as part of
the pilot project, designed to process TVs as well as computer monitors.

Least waste
Least waste is the trading name of the Eastern Regional Waste Management Group. It comprises
the cities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Least waste and its five member councils are responsible for ensuring that facilities for managing
litter and waste are available to the community and recognises that if the current level of waste
disposal continues unabated, serious social and environmental problems will result.

Least waste and its councils have waste management infrastructure in place and were keen to be
involved in the pilot as its objectives fit with Least waste’s aim to:
•   Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill;
•   Reduce the extent and impact of waste;
•   Protect human health and the environment; and
•   Maximise the use of resources.

Centre for Design at RMIT

The Centre for Design at RMIT University is recognised as the leading research centre in
Australia for environmental design and product stewardship. The Centre works with
manufacturers to reduce the environmental impacts of products and services, and to develop
practical and economically viable systems for product recovery at EoL.

The Centre for Design provided support to this project by:
    •   Assisting in the design of the pilot project;
    •   Conducting the community focus group;
    •   Conducing interviews with landfill and recycling centre operators; and
    •   Assisting with writing of the final report.

1.3.    Benchmarking

Although this project is immediately concerned with the recovery and processing of consumer
electronics from the eastern region of Melbourne the project has also taken into account a series
of wider international initiatives. The reasons for this are in many respects obvious. Firstly there
is the simple fact that EoL management of consumer electronics is a matter of global significance.
Secondly, there is a need to understand the points of comparison and differentiation between the
circumstances faced by the pilot study and those experienced elsewhere. Thirdly, there is the need
to develop some form of benchmarking for the pilot study.

During the course of the study two major opportunities arose for project members to review
major overseas initiatives firsthand. These were the industry recovery and processing programs
initiated by consumer electronics firms in Japan and the implementation of industry response
plans to the WEEE Directive in Europe. Each of these provided important insights into the
recovery and processing of consumer electronics. Appendix A provides a summary description of
each initiative. Observations and comparisons based on these study aspects of the project are
made throughout the report.

2. Background and international context

As the journey towards sustainable development gathers momentum, it is permeating a growing
number of industrial activities and sectors. Over the last decade, governments, communities,
commerce and industry, have generally acknowledged that the production and consumption of
electrical and electronic equipment, is an area in need of more environmental attention.

One of the most contentious environmental issues related to electronic products is their
contribution to solid and hazardous waste when they reach EoL and are discarded and disposed of
by consumers and users. While energy efficiency during product operation is being addressed in
some product categories with the introduction of minimal stand-by consumption requirements,
the majority of activity has focused on the interrelated issues of:

§   EcoDesign or Design for Environment (DfE) during new product development;
§   Cleaner production or pollution prevention during product manufacture; and
§   EoL management including product recovery, re-use and recycling.

Of these three, managing electronic waste at EoL, is the most intensive area of activity among
industry and government. The European Commission’s Directive on Waste from Electrical and
Electronic Equipment (WEEE) has attracted considerable attention given its focus on producer
responsibility and the requirement to make individual producers or trade associations cover the
costs associated with the recycling or safe disposal of electrical and electronic waste, however
many other jurisdictions and stakeholders around the world are immersed in the issue of better
managing e-waste.

2.1.    Drivers

While it can be argued that there are several issues driving a greater focus on e-waste and the
overall environmental performance of electronic products, some inter-related themes stand out
more than others. In particular, the presence of hazardous materials and/or toxic substances found
in certain electronic products, represents one of the key drivers for action by industry and
governments. E-waste has the potential to contribute to a range of environmental and human
health problems. The disposal of such products also leads to lost economic opportunities. From a

resource conservation perspective, scarce and/or non-renewable resources are also lost when e-
waste is landfilled, incinerated or processed by a means that only recovers a limited range of
materials. The issues that relate to diverting discarded electronic products from the waste stream
are therefore not only concerned with environmental problems; they are concerned with
production processes and commercial systems that would appear to operate in an inefficient
manner and fail to recover otherwise valuable and/or finite resources.

Justifying the position that there are major environmental and economic issues with e-waste is not
the objective. This has been clearly established by government, research institutions and industry
around the world. Indeed, a considerable body of research indicates that e-waste may lead to
impacts that are still unknown or are difficult to quantify. 2

With the exception of older refrigeration products using ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFCs,
the notion that other durable products could contain hazardous substances is yet to be widely
recognised by mainstream consumers in many parts of the world. The extent to which
environmental issues surrounding the production and disposal of mobile phones, PCs and TVs
has captured the community’s imagination or environmental concern is negligible, when
compared to pesticides, detergents, packaging or vehicle emissions.

Hazardous substances, toxic materials and transboundary movement of waste
The quantity of hazardous substances varies according to the electronic product in question;
however, products such as TVs, computer monitors and mobile phone batteries contain various
hazardous substances including lead oxide, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame
retardants and cadmium, to name a few.

    – Waste from Electrical and Electronic Products – A survey of the contents of materials and hazardous substances in
electric and electronic products . TemaNord 1995:554, Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen 1995; Environmental
Consequences of Incineration and Landfilling of Waste from Electr(on)ic Equipment. TemaNord 1995:555, Nordic Council
of Ministers, Copenhagen 1995; Electronic and Electrical Equipment – The Basis for Producer Responsibility. Swedish
Environmental Protection Agency, Stockholm 1995; Recycling Used Electronics – Report on Minnesota’s Demonstration
Project. Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance. St. Paul 2001; Waste in a Wireless World: The Challenge of Cell
Phones. Bette K. Fishbein, INFORM, Inc., New York 2002; Desktop Computer Displays: A Life Cycle Assessment.
(EPA/774-R-01-004a and b). US EPA Design for Environment Program and the University of Tennessee Center for
Clean Products and Clean Technologies, 2002.

Hazardous substances contained in electronic products pose one of the greatest environmental
threats, particularly at EoL, when such products may enter landfill, are intentionally or
accidentally incinerated, or are illegally dumped. It has been shown that electronic products
contain most of the elements in the periodic system and the potential for heavy metals and other
toxic substances to leach out of e-waste and into surrounding aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is
potentially more serious than the solid waste impacts. This is particularly so with certain older
products. However, because the landfilling process takes so long and is quite complex, the exact
impact of hazardous wastes contained in e-waste is relatively unknown3 .

A related issue is the transboundary movement of such substances. The movement of hazardous
waste across international boundaries or frontiers has direct and controversial relevance to
electronic products and in particular e-waste. The shipping of hazardous waste to developing
countries and to Eastern Europe in the late 80s generated considerable public opposition and
resulted in the Basel Convention. It is a global agreement that has been ratified by 135 countries
as well as the European Union, and seeks to regulate the transboundary movement of wastes that
are toxic, poisonous, explosive, corrosive, flammable, eco-toxic, or infectious.

The Convention’s key principles highlight three key goals:

§      Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes should be reduced to a minimum consistent
       with their environmentally sound management.
§      Hazardous wastes should be treated and disposed of as close as possible to their source of
§      Hazardous waste generation should be reduced and minimised at source.

These goals or principles impinge on the production and consumption of electronic products and
have been at the centre of relatively recent media coverage concerning the export of e-waste from
the USA to Asian countries for low cost processing. The official web site of the Secretariat of the
Basel Convention offers a succinct series of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, as well as other more
detailed documents regarding the development, adoption, implementation and further expansions
of the Convention’s activities.

    Source: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Report 4406, p13.

For detailed information about the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal, see

Information and awareness about international movement of hazardous waste has been primarily
driven by non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and
the Basel Action Network, with the support from other Asia-based NGOs including Toxics Link
India, Greenpeace China and SCOPE from Pakistan. Their recent report and media releases titled
the “Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia”, have generated international
prominence of, and interest in, the activities of countries and companies involved in exporting e-
waste. The campaign has used highly emotive images and language to deliver an ecological and
human health message that is undoubtedly one of the key drivers influencing the electronics
industry and governments to focus their efforts on waste avoidance and resource recovery in a
more sustainable manner that clearly follows the spirit and formality of the Basel Convention.

For an NGO perspective on e-waste and the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, see
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition or Basel Action Network

2.2.    Responses worldwide

Other significant factors in the growing focus on electronic products and e-waste, include the
evolution of specific policy approaches as well as more coherent environmental management
tools and systems. These include:

§   Shared product responsibility and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
§   Product stewardship and life-cycle management
§   Design for Environment and life-cycle thinking
§   Supply chain management and Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
§   Environmental and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) reporting
§   Sustainable production and consumption
§   Socially responsible investment products and services e.g. Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Collectively, these activities from industry and government are beginning to make important
advances in how e-waste can be more effectively managed, however industry and governments

around the world are currently engaging with the challenge of shifting from producer
responsibility type policies into real world product stewardship schemes.

While the development of specific terms help build awareness and common currency among
existing and potential stakeholders, they can also confuse and provide a springboard for
theoreticians to argue, compare, distinguish and construct similarities and differences. A useful
debate to grow the overall knowledge base but not always productive for those in need of
developing and implementing practical strategies. Some terms currently in use include:

§      Product stewardship
§      Environmental stewardship
§      Extended Producer Responsibility
§      Extended Product Responsibility (USA orientation)
§      Shared product responsibility
§      Product life-cycle management

The newly formed Product Stewardship Institute based at the University of Massachusetts
provides a relatively detailed and current description for product stewardship:

            “Product stewardship is one of several terms that recognises the need for industry,
            government, and consumers to promote the development and use of consumer products
            that pose no – or increasingly fewer – health and environmental impacts. The product
            stewardship approach provides incentives to manufacturers to consider the entire life-
            cycle impacts of a product and its packaging – energy and materials consumption, air and
            water emissions, the amount of toxics in the product, worker safety, and waste disposal –
            in product design, and to take increasing responsibility for the end-of-life management of
            the products they produce. The objective of product stewardship is to encourage
            manufacturers to redesign products with fewer toxics, and to make them more durable,
            reusable, and recyclable, and with recycled materials. Since waste disposal impacts and
            associated costs have been the basis for engaging manufacturers, attention has initially
            focused on waste management problems and solutions. However, the challenge of
            product stewardship is to move beyond disposal to facilitate a paradigm shift toward zero
            waste and sustainable production.” 4

    USA based Product Stewardship Institute

Policies and regulations within the context of EPR and shared product responsibility are having a
significant impact on the business models being run by manufacturing companies, particularly as
we see the expression of more holistic product stewardship thinking and industrial ecologies by
global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These companies represent a small but
influential sample of corporations who are transforming themselves in recognition of how
environmental imperatives are active factors in stimulating profitable innovation and responsible
business growth. Among these sorts of producers, one will find leading edge responses, most of
which are underpinned by life-cycle thinking and pragmatic outcomes such as EcoDesign or DfE,
re-manufacturing, upgradability, dynamic modularity, de-materialisation, and finally product-
service strategies such as leasing.

The common threads through all of these tools and practices includes the need to maximize
innovation and profitability, create productive partnerships, and of course eliminate and reduce
negative environmental impacts. The highly regulated approach taken in Europe may not be
necessary or appropriate here. We have already seen how much can be achieved through
voluntary initiatives, albeit with the support of government. What we do need is a much more
clearly informed direction from government in developing a framework for managing product life
cycles, and a commitment from industry to develop product stewardship programs that are real
and sustainable. In particular, we need to engage with those sectors that have so far stayed out of
the product stewardship debate, for example automotive suppliers.

Voluntary responses are of vital importance and show that industry can take the lead. The
capacity for manufacturers and brand owners to make significant progress in maximising their
environmental performance through implementing product stewardship should not be
underestimated. Similarly we should not overlook the potential for slow moving companies,
industry associations and indifferent public administrators to remain inactive and hinder the
development of environmentally sensible policies, covenants and regulations.

While there is evidence in support of both voluntary and mandated approaches to encouraging the
implementation of product stewardship, the reality is that voluntary activity is still isolated to
pockets of progressive companies and associations, often supported by government agencies.
These companies generally have the corporate foresight to understand that social and
environmental performance will increasingly reflect on their commercial performance.

Ultimately the question is one of timeframes and measurable outcomes. If society desires a more
rapid and effective process of waste avoidance and reduction, then a mix of well-resourced
approaches is required. Such a framework not only serves to support the progressive companies,
it also steers the laggards in the right direction.

In summary, the issues described above aim to present an overview on the range and diversity of
factors influencing current thinking an action on electronic products and e-waste within the
context of sustainable production and consumption. They also provide a backdrop against which
the Australian TV Pilot Recycling project was conducted.

2.3.    Foresight and trends in consumer electronics

In line with the project’s objective of laying the foundation for an ongoing and expanded
commercially viable program for recovery of consumer electronics a series of questions were put
to industry on the possible future directions for consumer electronics that were relevant to their
management at EoL. The areas addressed were changes in:

•   Size and mass
•   Display technology
•   Materials and design considerations
•   Cost and value
•   Possible impact of digital broadcasting technologies
•   Consumer trends

These points are discussed in the following sections. For the most part the views expressed must
be taken as informed views of manufacturers and importers.

2.3.1. Size and Mass

Australian consumers have moved steadily towards larger screen size and heavier units in recent
years. The typical distribution of demand for receivers is detailed in Table 2.1. It is expected that
the current trend towards larger screen size and consequently heavier product will continue.

Units (%)        Year
Screen Size      1992 1993 1994         1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001                       2002 2003
Up to 34cm       41.46 39.01 36.08 34.77 31.62 28.38 28.48 27.35 27.3                 24.55 20.49 16.74
35 - 67cm        48.6    51.76 52.83 50.48 48.04 49.55 48.73 48.72 43.47 42.06 42.26 38.57
68cm and         9.94    9.23   11.09 14.76 20.34 22.07 22.79 23.93 29.23 33.39 37.25 44.69

Table 2.1: Typical distribution of demand for televisions based on size category.

2.3.2. Display Technology

Television receivers and computer monitors are dominated by cathode ray tubes at present.
Although rear projection, plasma and liquid crystal displays are currently available these
represent a small proportion of consumer purchases at the very high end of the market. Liquid
crystal display technology has been examined by the German Federal Environment Agency in
terms of its ecotoxicology and proposed EU regulations (see: No toxicology effect has
been reported and as a result no special recommendations have been made for handling liquid
crystals. It should be noted, however, that back-lighting in such displays is achieved using a neon
tube, which contains mercury.

2.3.3. Materials and Design Considerations

The materials used in construction of television receiver cabinets has taken product through
several major stages:

•   furniture cabinet
•   metal cabinet
•   particle board laminate
•   plastic cabinet

Demands of environmental legislation from major markets such as the European Union are now
beginning to influence cabinet development. Plastics will continue as the main cabinet
construction material into the foreseeable future. Even in the event of an alternative cabinet

design emerging in the near term, the demand for plastics recycling will continue as a major cost
and technical challenge.

2.3.4. Cost and value

The competitive nature of the television market influences greatly the current prices commanded
by basic CRT product particularly at the lower end. Purchase price invariably has some influence
over the perceived value of the unit and is also significant in terms of the feasibility of product
repair and maintenance. For many sizes of basic CRT display device the cost of repair approaches
the cost of a replacement unit. It only becomes economic to repair higher value equipment such
as large screen size or newer display technologies.

2.3.5. Impact of Digital Broadcasting

Digital broadcasting legislation was introduced into Australia in 2000. As yet there has been no
significant transition from analogue equipment to digital product. There are several reasons for

•   Analogue broadcasting is set to continue at least up until 2008
•   Digital product is only available in limited numbers
•   Digital content development is yet to make its influence felt on consumer purchasing

The take up rate of digital TV is expected to increase as we see a greater range of product and
content in the lead up to 2008. But the impact that this will have on the waste stream is by no
means clear-cut. Many of the products that consumers are purchasing now are capable of
displaying digital broadcasting with the addition of a set-top box decoder. With consumers
already moving into larger screen size, 16:9 format and ancillary product such as home theatre
packages their present investment can be expected to carry them through into the digital regime
without the generation of a waste stream comparable to the closure of the analogue mobile
telephony network.

3. Methodology

3.1.    General approach

The project was developed along five discrete areas of activity:

1. Technical - infrastructure development, collection, processing, tracking, monitoring and
2. Marketing - invitations to participate, development of website, signage, brochures, local
3. Liaison - to inform and invite participation from groups with similar interests.
4. Reporting - production of interim reports to provide partners (and other parties, as relevant)
    with updates on activities and progress. Production of final report.
5. Extension of project – preliminary recommendations for extension of recycling scheme and
    presentation of findings to suitable fora.

3.2.    Technical

The development of equipment to service the trial was based on three major considerations.

•   The limited availability of capital
•   The degree of labour intensity required by the processing techniques
•   Occupational health and safety consideration

The lack of capital for investment in plant was not considered to be a major impediment to the
project. Initial discussion with product experts highlighted that the breakdown of TV receivers
into their constituent subassemblies would necessarily involve a high degree of labour. This was
especially the case with preserving the CRT intact. In examining overseas processes it was found
that they were, at least for the present, also largely dependent upon labour rather than automation.

3.2.1. Infrastructure development     Equipment design

MRI designed and manufactured equipment able to cope with processing the CRTs from
televisions. This was based on work done on CRT processing from computer monitors.
Television receivers proved to be a more difficult product to handle due to the wider variation in
size, cabinet design and materials, and product age. MRI also put in place procedures to cope
with related equipment, such as VCRs and stereos.

The equipment was designed to require minimal capital investment. It was also designed to be
transportable, with view to it
being moved to collection sites
(rather than the TVs to it), for
processing of product in more
remote areas, to reduce logistical
issues associated with the vast
distances between communities
in Australia, once processing
expanded beyond a pilot

The primary processing
equipment involved an
electrically operated rotating bench top that would accommodate three operators. The bench top
was used to cycle a receiver through the dismantling process in three key stages:

1. removal of CRT from cabinet
2. separation of the yoke and front glass of the CRT and collection of phosphors
3. sorting of the constituent sub-assemblies

The bench top was itself screened to limit airflow disturbance for both OH&S and environmental
reasons. After a period of initial operation a specialist lifting device was added to equipment used
to deal with the weight of product being handled.          Handling procedures

Occupational health and safety

The processing of consumer electronics presents a limited number of OH&S challenges. These lie
primarily in the areas of exposure (through inhalation) to phosphors used in the screen lining
when the glass is broken, and to the risk of injury through lifting heavy receivers5 . A 40 page
operations manual was produced to provide training for equipment operators. This addressed the
key OH&S issues of ventilation and eye-protection, as well as other material on the dismantling
of receivers6 .

For issues specific to the pilot project (ie issues not covered in pre-existing OH&S
documentation), OH&S issues were included in a ‘notice to staff’ instruction sheet to transfer
station staff, to advise them on handling of equipment while on their sites. The ‘notice to staff’ is
available at Appendix D.

The environmental impact of leaded glass is relatively low. The only significant environmental
hazard poised by leaded glass from CRTs would be where the glass when subject to long-term
leaching. The extent to which CRT monitors are subject to leaching is uncertain. The decision
was taken to ensure that the leaded glass could be diverted from landfill and applied in some
industrial process.

At MRI the leaded glass was stored in solid steel stillages, inside a warehouse, before being sent
to a third party for processing. The main processing options considered were:

•      Re-use in CRT manufacture

    New Workcover guidelines prohibit any lifting. These would need to be examined and their impact on any handling
procedures assessed – whether at the processing plant, at the transfer station, or, if consumer electronics were included
as a separate stream in the hardwaste collection, at the point of collection.
    For reasons of confidentiality, a copy of the Operations Manual is not included in the appendices. It is available to
selected parties, on request, however.

•   Re-use in other glass products
•   Other industrial processes
•   Embedding and secure disposal

The re-use option was not viable since Australia has no CRT manufacturing capability. Even if
re-use in CRT remanufacture were technically feasible it would involve an extended period of
accumulation of materials and transportation before a viable quantity could be secured. The
option of re-using the leaded glass in other glass products was discounted due to there being no
viable demand for either product substitution options (eg using the glass in leadlights) or for re-
use as CRTs (with no CRT manufacturing taking place in Australia, and no interest from overseas
plants). The processing option selected was for the leaded glass to be used as a fluxing agent in
minerals processing. This had the advantage of reducing the use of primary materials in the
smelting process. At the outset of the project a decision was taken to preserve the CRT intact for
transport to the final disposal destination and procedures were put in place to ensure proper
handling techniques to minimise breakage. The procedures were best practice in achieving the
highest environmental outcome and are consistent with best practice observed in Europe and
Japan. However, other procedures observed, with lower environmental outcomes, make such
handling requirements redundant.

Screen linings can be a problem if disposed of incorrectly. At MRI, these were collected in
heavy-duty vacuum bags, then placed in plastic drums.    Collection

The main sources of TVs/VCRs in Eastern region of Melbourne (the area serviced by Least
waste) were identified by the project team as follows:

1. TV repairers/service centres
2. TV rental centres
3. Charitable organisations
4. Hardwaste/ kerbside collection
5. Public drop off (transfer stations)
6. Retailers, real estate agents (targeted for information distribution)

All the sources listed above were invited to participate in the scheme. In the case of retailers and
real estate agents, it was suggested that an appropriate role might be information distribution (to
customers buying new TVs, or clients moving house who would likely be clearing out in the
move). Stillages were provided to all transfer stations and free pick up was offered to any source,
provided they had critical mass – ie store the items themselves until pick up was viable.

Signage was prepared for transfer stations (see ‘marketing’ for further details). Briefing material
was also prepared for all collection/drop-off points, to advise on issues associated with the pilot,
including storage and collection arrangements.       Processing

The pilot project sought not only to explore and develop methods of processing TVs and related
equipment in Australia, but also to investigate options for the re-use and disposal of all parts,
including exploring better alternatives to some existing processing options. For a number of
components, this was a problem,
with no options other than land-
filling available for plastic
casings, for example.

During processing the
TVs/monitors are split into:

•   Plastics
•   Electronic breakage
•   Heavy metal contaminated
•   Screen linings

This takes place in three basic steps:
1. Strip monitor
    Monitor is stripped of its plastic case and electronic components. Bare CRT is sent for
    separation. Mechanical tools are used for this process.

2. Separate CRT
    CRT separation is done using a specially designed machine that uses thermal shock to crack
    (not shatter) the CRT around its weld. This separates the front glass from the back glass. No
    emissions, or chemicals are used or discharged during this process.

3. Clean Out CRT Lining
    The ferrous screen is separated from screen and the luminous coating is vacuumed off the
    front. This coating weighs less than one gram per screen.

The fractions are then handled as follows:

Front and Back Glass.

The leaded glass is contained in the rear portion of the tube. As outlined previously, this glass
only represents a hazard when subject to long term leaching. At MRI the glass is stored in solid
steel stillages, inside the warehouse until it is sent for processing.

Trials are being conducted in conjunction with Pasminco and MIM to process this glass to
recover the lead and use the glass as a fluxing agent in the lead smelting process.

The front glass is a mixture of other metals (such as barium) and does not represent as great an
environmental hazard. At MRI the glass is stored in solid steel stillages inside the warehouse until
it is sent for processing. During the pilot trials were conducted (with Visy glass) with a view to
recycling this product with normal float glass used in window glass. The trials were successful
and Visy now willingly accept the front


Steel, recovered from the shadow box, is
recycled through existing channels.

Copper Yoke

This contains plastic, ferrite magnetic and
copper. Traditional processing recovers
the copper and ferrite material. The plastic
goes to landfill.

Electronic Scrap

The circuit boards and other electronic scrap are stored in stillages until sent for processing,
where metals (including gold, copper, silver lead and steel) are recovered.

Plastics (TV casings) are a problematic waste stream. Although many plastics are recyclable,
markets are currently incidental, and the plastic from the televisions are not of interest to plastic
recyclers because of high levels of contamination in the form of:

    •     Metallic and cross polymer
    •     Paper, plastic and metallic stickers and ID plates
    •     Fire retardants

Another problem is the difficulty involved in identifying different plastics in order to separate
them for recycling. Even where plastics coding exists (on newer product), it may be difficult to
see and therefore not assist efficient handling and identification.

There exist a number of possible re-use alternatives such as incorporation into construction
materials but until there is sufficient volume plastic will remain a problematic waste stream. This
remains a world wide problem.

Wood cases
Generally, the wooden cases on TVs consist of particleboard with a polymer veneer and glue of
unknown makeup. The cases are a problematic waste due to the high rates of contamination and
the undesirability of some of the glues used in the manufacture process.

Screen Linings

Although their composition varies between manufacturers, and with age, screen linings are
phosphorus-based, blended with rare earth elements (REEs). They are collected in heavy-duty
vacuum bags then placed in plastic drums. The volumes of dust collected are very small. The dust
is stored onsite until a large enough quantity is ready for disposal. Disposal is via secure landfill
(ie encased in concrete to prevent contamination).

                                                                                                    29     Tracking, monitoring and reporting

It is critical for any project to collect useful information which will enable it to evaluate its
success, areas for improvement, etc. This is even more critical in the case of a pilot project.

It was agreed that data collected specifically relating to product collected should include:
•   Date of collection
•   Screen size
•   Make/ manufacturer
•   Approximate age
•   Source of collection
•   Time and cost of collections from sites
•   Problems associated with a specific collection/site


Each site was given barcodes detailing their distinct site number. The intent was for the transfer
station staff to affix labels to each product as it arrived to assist MRI identify the location and
determine the volume collected at each site and thereby determine the most effective collection
points. The use of barcodes quickly proved unreliable, however, and was discarded.

At time of collection, MRI staff completed a form detailing what was collected (‘screen’, ‘VCR’
or ‘other’) and the screen size (28,30,36,48,54,63, or 66 cm screen). They were also required to
report times spent traveling to job; loading; unloading, return travel from job, in addition to other
issues regarding the site such as insufficient stillages and poor access. Details of the make/
manufacturer of screens were recorded at the time of processing.

The approximate age of product collected proved difficult, as the compliance plates of different
manufacturers have different methods of displaying the year of manufacture, which is not
immediately identifiable. The only practicable way to gauge the age of the product was to identify
assembly and materials of manufacture as these had fairly identifiable life cycles.

3.3.    Marketing

3.3.1. Communications plan

A communications plan was developed to market the pilot project. At the local level, the intent
was to inform as many of the local community of the scheme as possible, and encourage their
participation, while reducing the amount of ‘spillage’ publicity into other areas not within the
pilot region. Communication mediums chosen also had to be appropriate for a non-ongoing
project such as the pilot, and fit within a reasonably tight budget.

The first step in marketing the scheme was develop a plan to market the scheme to the main
sources of TVs in Least waste region (outlined on Page 12).

At every opportunity, companies participating in the project (ie CESA members) were listed. This
was to gain as much positive exposure as possible for those companies ‘doing the right thing’ by

An outline of the communications plan is presented below. A copy of the full plan is included as
Appendix B.

The basic elements of the plan included development of:

a) TV pilot website – a web site devoted to the pilot project which included:
    •   background and details of scheme
    •   project partners (& links to their sites)
    •   contact details for further information

Target audience -The site was designed to provide information to any interested party.

Links from local council web sites to the pilot site were arranged.

b) One-page information document - a summary of the project which included:

    •   Outline of project (why required, 6-month trial, pick-up conditions)

    •   Project partners (incl. logos)
    •   Information on how to participate (incl. ‘it’s free!’)
    •   Project web site address

Target audience - The one pager was designed to be sent with an appropriate cover letter to each
of the following possible sources of TVs: service centres (approximately 80), rental centres (8)
and charities (5) in region.

c) Brochure – an eye-catching brochure was produced both in electronic and hard formats
    (3,000 copies). Designed as an easy to read, attention-grabbing brochure, it included:

    •   A brief outline of the project
    •   Information on how to participate (including ‘it’s free!’)
    •   Details (including opening hours) of participating transfer stations
    •   A free-call 1800 InfoLine number (to provide callers with further information and to
        answer callers’ questions. The InfoLine was also used to gather information from callers
        to assist with project analysis)

Target audience - The brochure was designed to provide information to, and encourage
engagement from, any member of the general public in the pilot region who might have a TV or
VCR to dispose of. This included individuals buying new products and those visiting
participating transfer stations.

Hard copies of the brochure were available to the public from the five member councils (available
to public in the public access areas of their municipal offices), all eight participating transfer
centres and EcoRecycle Victoria. In addition to being displayed with similar brochure types, the
brochures were distributed by staff in response to specific queries (face-to-face or by telephone)
by the public.

All retailers in the region (19) were also invited to participate in the project by providing
brochures on the project to their customers. In addition to targeting retailers by writing to each
individually, the Australian Retailers’ Association was contacted (on numerous occasions) with
view to them advising their members of scheme.

Finally, home movers were targeted, with real estate agents approached to provide brochures to
their customers. This invitation was extended through a letter to the Real Estate Institute Victoria.

d) Signage – As part of the pilot project signs were produced to indicate the TV Recycling
    area at each participating drop-off centre. These were designed in the same format, size
    and colour as other recycling signs used at the centre (a format prepared by
    EcoRecycle). The sign clearly provided a message to customers that the area was for
    recycling of televisions. (If other items were also to be received with TVs in future, the
    signs used in the pilot project may need to be expanded to include additional pictorial

Target audience -The signs were provided for the general public visiting participating transfer

e) Media - media releases were prepared on the project. These included:

•   an outline of project (why it was required, 6-month trial, pick-up conditions)
•   project partners (including logos)
•   information on how to participate (including ‘it’s free!’, where to take TVs)
•   project web site address

Interviews (including radio interviews), photos and site visits were encouraged. Existing channels
were utilised where ever possible. This enabled, for example, the project to be included in a
program on community radio station Eastern FM (98.1).

Further details about this interview are included in Appendix C.

Target audience -The first release (August 2001) was aimed at the general public and industry.
The media release was sent to national media contacts, including relevant trade press and relevant
internet sites/publications.

The second release (December 2001) had a more local focus, targeting the general public living in
the pilot project area was sent to the local media, it included:

•   A brief outline of the project
•   Information on how to participate (including ‘it’s free!’)
•   Details (including opening hours) of participating transfer stations
•   The 1800 InfoLine number

A slightly amended version (excluding the detailed local information) was sent to selected
national trade press. AEEMA’s fortnightly electronic publication E-Bulletin also provided
frequent updates on the project.

Media coverage gained by the pilot project is included in Appendix C.

3.3.2. Staff Education and involvement

All five Transfer and Recycling Centres located in the Eastern Region participated in the TV
Recycling Pilot Project. This included both municipally owned and privately owned facilities.
Least waste arranged for the involvement of these Centres, given its involvement with them on
other waste management and recycling matters.

Initial contact was made with the Manager or owner of each Centre to obtain advice of the
appropriate personnel to contact with information on collections to be conducted at each Centre.
Telephone contact was then made with the nominated person to discuss any particular issues that
may be relevant to their Centre. Arrangements were then made for delivery of a ‘notice to staff’,
signage and pamphlets.

The notice to staff was jointly prepared by MRI and Least waste. With the joint preparation, this
one document was able to advise on occupational health and safety and collection requirements,
while recognising the operational issues associated with operation of a waste management
facility. It dealt with the following issues:

•   Background about pilot and an outline of how it was to operate
•   Product included in trial - ‘free service’ for these products, with scope provided for additional
    items to be accepted at $2.00 per item.
•   Duration of the trial (November 2001 to March 2002)

•   List of participating drop off centres (so all parties were aware of the breadth of the project)
•   Drop off centre staff responsibilities. This included information on fax back forms (copies
    supplied) to enable issues relating to the trial to be addressed promptly; storage and marking
    requirements; the condition of acceptable equipment; and information about how the trial was
    being promoted through brochures.
•   The method of collection of product, means of notification when a collection was required
    and an assurance of there being no OH&S issues with handling complete TVs were also set

A copy of the notice to staff is included at Appendix D.

Least waste personally delivered the notice to staff to each participating Centre, along with 50
copies of the TV pilot brochure, at the beginning of November 2001, when the project was
officially launched. The personal delivery was seen as important, as it provided the opportunity
for issues specific to any particular site to be discussed. Shortly after delivery of this information,
MRI arranged delivery of the collection stillages and bar codes (for affixing to TVs to enable
identification of source by MRI).

Further minor issues were dealt with when product was collected.

3.3.3. Data collection and feedback

In addition to collecting data relating specifically to product collected, the project team sought
information and feedback by:

•   Providing feedback forms (with briefing notes) to transfer stations - This encouraged
    operators to report any problems or issues encountered during the trial, with fax and email
    details for MRI provided. A copy of briefing and faxback form is included at Appendix D.

•   Including a 1800 number for inquiries on information about the project (eg brochure, media
    articles) - This utilised an existing EcoRecycle ‘InfoLine’ facility. The InfoLine was
    essentially advertised as an enquiry line, but was designed to capture information from any
    callers by asking them to answer a short survey after their initial inquiry was answered. The
    service was provided free by EcoRecyle because of the low number of calls received.

    Questions included in the InfoLine survey included:

    •     Where did you hear about the TV pilot?
    •     Was the TV in working order?
    •     Questions to explore knowledge and attitudes towards recycling, including knowledge
        about the potential environmental problems associated with their disposal, alternative
        arrangements for collection and costs.

    Questions, and answers received, are available in Appendix E.

•   Running a focus group involving the general public - This was used to explore consumer
    knowledge, behaviour and attitudes in relation to TV recycling, and to gain feedback on
    possible TV collection models. Although it is recognised that one focus group will never be
    totally representative of the community at large, the session was used to identify some of the
    key issues and drivers. These could be tested in a more comprehensive qualitative or
    quantitative study at a later stage.

    Participants were recruited using a professional recruitment company, with the aim of
    selecting a representative mix of male and female residents from across the Eastern Region.
    The focus group was held at the office of Least Waste in Mitcham. Ten people agreed to
    participate, with nine attending on the night. The discussion was taped and transcribed to
    ensure that key issues were captured.

    Issues covered included:
    •    Participation in recycling, including kerbside recycling, green waste collections, hard
         rubbish collections and recycling through transfer stations
    •    Disposal and recycling practices for appliances and TVs
    •    Environmental impact of appliances and TVs
    •    Recycling of appliances, and TVs in particular
    •    Options for collection of old TVs, including fees for recycling.

    An outline of the session is included at Appendix F.

•   Conducting interviews with transfer station operators - Among issues explored were
    •    Estimates on the number of TVs collected per week (and trends)
    •    Operator’s perspective on success of trial
    •    Positive and negative aspects for transfer stations participating in trial
    •    Feedback on instructions, signage, collection
    •    Suggestions for improvement
    •    Operator’s ‘feeling’ as to whether consumers would pay extra for this service.

A summary of the transfer station interviews is included at Appendix G.

•   Conducting a phone survey of service centres and rental outlets (including both known
    participants and non-participants). Questions covered:
•   Awareness of trial
•   Reasons for participation/non-participation
•   Whether TVs were in working order
•   Extent of ‘scavenging’ by repairers

A summary of the survey is included at Appendix H.

Feedback gained from each of these sources is discussed in detail in chapter three.

3.4.            Liaison, reporting and extension of project

A number of interim reports were produced during the pilot, to inform project members and other
interested parties on progress and initial results. Throughout the project, the team also informed
parties with related interests about the pilot, and, where appropriate, invited them to attend
meetings. It is intended that discussions will continue with such parties as the parties involved in
the pilot look to facilitate a more permanent scheme.

The formal presentation of interim results to industry representatives formed a major element of
the project liaison. This included extensive discussion regarding the extension of the project to a
more formal basis and preliminary analysis of how this could be developed.

A liaison relationship was developed with overseas corporate interests particularly through Sharp
Corporation, Philips, Panasonic and Sony. This provided input to the project from Japan, Europe
and the USA.

3.5.     Limitations

This pilot project was undertaken to test specific questions and it should be clearly understood
that there are many aspects of what might comprise a product stewardship program for consumer
electronics that were not or could not be tested.

3.5.1. Design for Environment

Perhaps the most significant of these and one which occupies a good deal of discussion from an
environmental perspective is that of Design for Environment (DfE). While this approach makes
reasonable sense in the context of an industry that is based on design and manufacturing
activities, it is a simple fact that the overwhelming majority of consumer electronics design and
manufacturing occurs outside Australia. As a small market, Australia is predominantly supplied
with product produced from global designs with only incremental variations in manufacturing for
local conditions. The capacity to influence these designs is limited.

However, during the course of the project there emerged many useful insights into how product
might be designed or manufactured to make disassembly more efficient. An avenue needs to be
developed to ensure that these insights can be communicated to product designers for
consideration. Members of the project team are currently examining how this might be done.

3.5.2. Cost of Recovery and Processing

The pilot project aimed to gather sufficient data to provide a useful indicator to the costs
associated with recovery and processing of television receivers. The data gathered has achieved
this but it remains an indicative figure only and cannot be considered a definitive statement of

4. Collection and Processing

Although the project officially ran from November 2001 to March 2002, MRI began accepting
product as early as September 2001 and the pilot was allowed to continue unofficially until funds
ran out at the end of September 2002. Advertising about the project was fairly limited at the very
beginning of the project, although letters of invitation were sent to service centres, charities and
retailers throughout September. A further ‘advertising push’ took place in November 2001. No
advertising took place after the official end of the project on 31 March 2002.

For the purposes of this analysis, the data from the nine months September 2001 – May 2002 is
used. This data period was chosen because nine months’ data is likely to provide a better
indicator of collection trends than six.

Throughout this section, figures refer to ‘units’ of specified equipment, except TV parts, where
the figures refer to kilograms of parts.

4.1.    Units collected

4.1.1. Types of equipment collected

Over the nine month period, 1452 TVs, 870 TV parts, 14 stereos and 383 VCRs were collected.

                                  VCRs         1%
                                  14%                 1%

                    TV parts                                        52%

Fig. 4.1 Percentage breakdown of equipment collected during the nine month period of the pilot.

Although not included in the scope of the pilot, microwaves were accepted from transfer stations
by MRI. 32 microwaves were collected. As Figure 4.2 illustrates, TVs collected ranged from
28cm, to a very modern 82cm.

Number and type of product collected

                                                                                                                                                                 = ue =
                                                                                                                                                           Value V a l8708 7 0









                                                      TV 28 CM

                                                                 TV 30 CM

                                                                            TV 36 CM

                                                                                           TV 48 CM

                                                                                                            TV 54 CM

                                                                                                                       TV 63 CM

                                                                                                                                        TV 66 CM

                                                                                                                                                     TV 82 CM

                                                                                                                                                                   TV parts




Fig. 4.2 Numerical distribution of product collected by type

Numerous different brands of units
                                                                                                                                        Rank       Sanyo
were collected. These included a                                                                                                                                       Philips
number of orphan brands such as
Thorn, Rank Arena AWA and other                                                                                                                                                          Sharp

brands for which there is no longer a                                                     Palsonic
                                                                                         Thomas                                                                                            Sony
trading supplier. Orphan product                                                       Chunghwa

represented approximately 15% of the                                                    Goldstar
total units collected. The chart below
illustrates the distribution of brands                                                            Other

collected1. (This data is also presented                                                                  JVC                                                                      Samsung
in tabular form in Appendix I.)                                                                            AWA/PYE
                                                                                                                 Loewe                                                        LG
                                                                                                                   Masuda                                        NEC
                                                                                                                                  Toshiba Thorn Panasonic

                                                                                       Fig. 4.3 Distribution of product collected by brand

    Figures on brands taken from six month period, November - April

Distribution of brands collected

Televisions and television parts accounted for the majority of goods collected, with VCRs
accounting for only 14% of product collected.

As explained in Chapter Two, estimating the age of the TVs was problematic. However, the
majority were estimated to be not less than 15 years old.

4.1.2. Materials derived

The chart below illustrates the materials derived from the dismantled product. Details of
processing are discussed in Chapter One. For costs and revenues, see Chapter 5.2.

                    Materials by Mass CPUs/VCRs

                       Case         3%          Side Glass
                       27%                         30%

                   Electronics              Front Glass
                      17%                      23%

Fig. 4.4 Percentage distribution of materials collected by mass

4.1.3. Collection trends

Average collection per month (of all equipment, as outlined above) was 306 items, with the rate
varying from a low of 77 items in December, to a high of 540 in November. As described in
Chapter Two, the marketing of the scheme was relatively low-key and inexpensive, but targeted.
This was both because of a tight budget, and because very high media coverage may have
encouraged skewed results by encouraging lots of stored product to enter the waste stream, and
from overflow into other (non-pilot) regions.

Just over half (51 percent) of product was collected from service centres and retail outlets,
compared to 49 percent collected from transfer stations. No product was collected directly from

      any other source, although it is possible that some product reached the transfer stations because of
      awareness raising efforts directed at charities, or real estate agents.

      Collection rates varied quite widely, from day-to-day, month-to-month and between different
      collection points. The highest number of products collected in one month were collected in
      November 2001, when seven times the number of products were collected when compared to the
      quietest month, December 2001. Figure 4.5 illustrates the collection trend over the period
      September 2001-May 2002.

      The inactivity in the early months reflects the fact that there were initially a number of problems
      installing the collection bins at the transfer station. All product collected prior to December was
      collected from service centres and retail outlets. The high of October/November then, which
      comprised a very high number of parts relative to the number of whole units collected, reflects
      service centres and rental organisations hearing about the scheme and taking the opportunity to
      clear accumulated stock.

                                                                                         TV parts
                                                                                         Entire units











      Fig. 4.5 Monthly collection trends (entire units and parts)

      4.1.4. Source of units

      As described in the previous chapter, six sources of TVs and related product were identified in
      Melbourne’s Eastern region: TV repairers/service centres; TV rental centres; charitable

organisations; hardwaste/ kerbside collection; transfer stations; retailers and estate agents.
Response from these sources was varied.     Hardwaste / kerbside

This service is provided by use of private contractors. Due to the nature of the contracts, it was
not possible to provide for TVs put out for collection at kerbside to be recovered. This is because
although significant material is provided for in kerbside hard waste contracts to be recycled, each
type generally requires a separate collection run. With the relatively small numbers of TVs to be
collected for a pilot, and the short trial time (relative to contract length), it was not possible to
alter contractual arrangements to provide for kerbside recovery.

Contractors were encouraged to make use of drop-off centres for recycling TVs, but, as most
material is collected in compactor vehicles, the units were unsuitable for recycling.     Charitable organisations

It is not known whether any of the charities informed of the scheme by letter participated in the
scheme. None asked for any product to be collected from them – which was expected, given that
a certain number of units was requested before pick up could be arranged. Individual
organisations may have taken any product to the transfer stations.     Retailers and estate agents

Considerable effort was expended contacting retailers to invite their participation in the pilot
project by providing information about the scheme (the brochure) to customers purchasing new
TVs and VCRs. The Australian Retailers’ Association (ARA) was approached on numerous
occasions, by phone and email. All 19 retailers in the pilot region were also directly approached
through individual letters. The efforts to solicit support from retailers were unsuccessful. Of the
19 retailers approached directly only Myer responded. It agreed to participate in the scheme and
ensured all its stores in the pilot region displayed brochures to their customers.

The Victorian branch of the Real Estate Institute Victoria was advised about the scheme and
asked if it might include information about it to its members in the Eastern region. It was
envisaged that estate agents could participate by way of information distribution - by advising
their clients of the opportunity to ‘do the right thing’ when clearing out their house in preparation
for moving. It is not known if any estate agents participated in the scheme, but it seems unlikely,
given that there were no requests for brochures.                       Service centres and rental outlets

The response from service centres and rental outlets was very positive. Analysis of the number of
TVs and VCRs collected as part of the pilot project show that just over half (51%) of the product
originated from this source, although only eight of the more than 80 service centres and rental
outlets contacted were known to have participated in the scheme. (Actual numbers are not known,
as some service centres and rental outlets chose to take their EoL product to the transfer stations
themselves, rather than ask for it to be collected. No data was collected about possible numbers of
TVs from this particular source).

Product sourced from the service centres and rental outlets is illustrated in Figure 4.6.

                                                                                                  TV Parts
                                                                                                  Entire units





                                     Colin Merritt



                                                                                                      Williams TV &
                                                     Sam Bonacci
           Agents Electronic

                                                                   Stay Tuned


Fig 4.6 Product collected from service centres and rental outlets

Although only eight of 80 service centres and retail outlets in the Eastern Region were known to
have participated in the scheme, the response from participants was very positive.

In a telephone interview conducted at the end of the trial period, 25 of the 80 companies invited
to participate in the project were interviewed. The survey results are available at Appendix H.

Of the 21 who agreed to participate in the survey, more than half (12) said that they were unaware
that there was a trial being conducted in their area, despite a personal letter having been sent to
their company. The most obvious reason for this is that the person agreeing to answer the phone
questionnaire may not have been the addressee, or the person who read the mail. Other reasons
include the mail not having been read (categorised as junk mail and thrown out), or simply that
the interviewee could not remember having received the letter.

About a third of those who were aware of the pilot did not participate. Reasons for this mainly
centered around cost and convenience. For example, one company explained that the council
currently collected all their TVs free of charge, so they would not bother looking at any other
option. It is worth noting that one non-participating centre decision was based not on economic
factors, but because they were already doing something worthwhile with their products: providing
them to a TAFE for their use in educational purposes.

The majority of interviewees who were aware of the pilot project did participate in it, most citing
that they wanted to ‘do the right thing’; it was convenient (would have had to take the TVs to the
tip anyway); and that the TVs were collected free of charge.

As noted previously, participation for many companies is strongly influenced by current practice
and level of convenience. For example, one participating service centre advised that they have a
permanent mini skip in place, which is collected on a daily basis. All rubbish is placed in this –
‘dead’ TVs, parts, packaging – and any other general rubbish. However, although this is the
easiest way to dispose of everything, they indicated they were happy to be very minimally

inconvenienced by stockpiling items for collection. They would not be prepared to personally
take product to a transfer station because this would add inconvenience, time and cost.

Responses from surveyed companies suggest that the majority of televisions destined for disposal
were either irreparable, or that it was not economically viable to fix them. A smaller number
(from rental outlets) were working, but were simply out-dated.

In order to assess issues of re-use, respondents were also asked about their ‘scavenging’ habits –
ie whether they tended to scavenge for parts. About half the companies scavenged for parts when
necessary, with the other half advising that it was not worth scavenging for old parts as this raised
warranty issues, or was not worth the effort, so they always used new parts. For those that did
scavenge, it was a reasonably rare activity, with most companies only using old parts in their
repairs a few times a year. One company did suggest it would be useful to be able to have some
kind of ‘scavenger rights’ to enable them to obtain spare parts which were no longer available
from a wholesaler (eg remote controls that have been broken/lost). In general, however, there was
a low level of interest in any such arrangements.

Finally, it is worth noting the comment from a couple of the service centres, which emphases the
importance of any scheme working to involve as many sources of TVs as possible:

     “It’s a good idea to recycle, as people are more frequently not repairing, simply
       replacing, as the price of repair becomes too expensive – making repairers
                                 redundant.”(emphasis added)

Overall, these results point to the need for a more concerted effort in targeting potential sources
of EoL product, removal of disincentives to participation, and consideration of further incentives.
For example, the council could start charging for removal of TVs. Incentives could include a
public awareness campaign, widely promoting scheme participants.    Transfer stations
All transfer and recycling centres located in the Eastern Region participated in the TV Recycling
Pilot Project. This included both municipally owned and privately owned facilities. Least waste

arranged for the involvement of these centres, given its involvement with them on other waste
management and recycling matters.

The 100% participation rate of transfer stations in the Eastern Region can be seen to reflect the
personal and structured contact made with each of the stations (by Least waste and MRI).

All stations except Healesville reported a steady stream of TVs arriving at their stations, with
anywhere between five and 20 being dropped off each week, with a number commenting that
peaks were noticeable with local media coverage of the scheme – also the source quoted by all
those who called the scheme’s 1800 number. Expectedly, the most popular time for TVs to be
dropped-off at the transfer stations was at the weekends.

Forty-nine percent of product collected was collected from this source. Figure 4.7 illustrates the
distribution between the centres.

                                                                                                                                 TV Parts
  350                                                                                                                            Entire units







                                                Healesville T.S.
            Cold stream T.S.

                                                                               Lysterfield T.S.
                               Recycling T.S.

                                                                                                                                       Whitehorse T.S.
                                                                                                  Montrose T.S.
                                                                   Knox T.S.

                                                                                                                  Wesburn T.S.

Fig. 4.7 Distribution of product collection between participating collection centres

In addition to proving a major source of product for the project the transfer stations also provided
some useful insights on the operation of the scheme. Overall, transfer station staff were
enthusiastic about the pilot project, commenting that it was a good service to provide, was seen as
such by the public, and was a good ‘communications exercise’. One commented that some TVs
had arrived from outside the region, because of the project. Despite the reported general positive

attitude from the general public, however, all operators believed that, had a charge been levied on
the correct disposal of TVs (collected at the transfer station), the scheme would have been
unsuccessful, with people hiding TVs in a mixed load to avoid the fee. Opposition to a fee at time
of disposal was also noted in the focus group sessions.

It was generally accepted that there would be teething problems with a new scheme. The most
common problem cited by operators related to the collection cages, which were too small, not
practical and untidy. The issue of sheltered storage was also raised, and it was suggested that,
from an OH&S perspective, secure cages would be useful to deter vandals (and the subsequent
need for transfer station staff to clean up glass). Many TVs were also placed next to, rather than
in, the cages, sometimes because cages were full, but also because it was inconvenient or difficult
to place the TV in the cage. This caused OH&S issues and made pickup by MRI more difficult. It
was also noted that most product came in as part of a mixed load, which meant that, especially in
busy periods, when staff could not always ensure otherwise, a number of TVs were likely to have
ended up in landfill despite separate bins being available. For VCRs, this problem is likely to
have been worse.

The instructions and training given to transfer station operators, and the signage for the public,
were generally seen to be adequate. A number of improvements were suggested, however. Most
importantly, a very clear list of exactly what could and could not be accepted should be provided
(it was initially unclear whether any display monitor other than a TV would be accepted. Many
sites were also unclear as to whether keyboards and other electronic components were included,
and wanted a scheme covering all electronics). Other suggestions from improvement included
more face-to-face training, and more prominently positioned signage, with a more prominently
positioned collection cage for this product.

At the start of the scheme, it was envisaged that transfer station staff would affix barcode stickers
to all product collected, to assist with tracking and identification issues. This proved to be
unworkable and was quickly discarded, with transfer station staff not able to ensure all product
was labelled in busy periods, and/or being unwilling to affix the labels – it was not as part of their
job (“MRI could do that”).

Most operators believed that more promotion of the scheme was necessary. It was suggested that
this could also provide an opportunity to educate the public on recycling issues in general. It

could also assist in educating transfer station staff; although most would normally have directed
TVs to landfill, one reported that it would normally have directed TVs arriving at its station to the
scrap metal skip, to be sent to general metal recycler Simsmetal - a disposal route likely to cause
more problems than being sent whole to landfill. It was also suggested that a regular newsletter
on the scheme for participating organisations could promote some friendly competition.

4.1.5. Other potential sources of TVs

Analysis of the response of other potential sources of EoL TVs, or channels for advertising a
scheme to deal with them, which were targeted, is presented below.     Retailers

Although all retailers in the Eastern Region were invited to participate, only one (Myer) did, by
making brochures available to customers. Relatively few brochures appear to have reached the
public through this channel.

Informal feedback from retailers (as companies were not willing to provide any official
comment), suggests that retailers were unwilling to participate for two main reasons.

Firstly, although it was not suggested that retailers do anything other than provide information
brochures about the TV pilot to their customers, retailers are reluctant to participate in any
‘product takeback’ schemes because they have seen how such schemes operate in Japan and
elsewhere. They fear that they too will be expected to act as collection centres for EoL product.

Secondly, there is already a barrage of information facing customers. A brochure about a
(temporary) pilot project would have to compete with many other types of information at point of
sale – most of which the retailer will directly benefit from as it advertises products. The incentive
to display the brochure, and for staff to make the effort to draw it to customers’ attention, is
relatively small.

The general unwillingness of retailers to even discuss how they might become involved in any
scheme is a concern, especially when results from similar trials in other countries are considered.
For example, an American pilot project for EoL electronics found that ‘retail, as a collection
strategy for used electronic products for recycling or reuse, was the single most successful
collection strategy during the project, both as a percent of total participants and as a cost per
participant.’2(emphasis added). Participants surveyed as part of this trial also reported that they
‘felt that the environmental values that [participating retailers] were promoting would influence
where they would shop for appliances.’ It is worth noting that the retail stores themselves did not
always report so positively on the scheme, but most of their problems related to signage and ill
thought-through staffing and positioning of collection stillages.

This feedback suggests that, in terms of advertising the scheme, it might be more sensible for
information about recycling to be included inside the box of new TVs (VCRs, etc). It would also
be worth working with retailers to examine incentives to assist customers with the disposal of
their old TVs. For example, it is common for the bigger TVs (over 68cm) to be delivered to
customers (usually at a cost), as they will not fit in most cars. Examining the viability of some
sort of reverse logistic scheme to remove the customer’s old set would be worthwhile, although
notably not all old sets are broken and requiring disposal (moved to the spare room, etc).         Estate agents

Although invited to participate in the awareness raising side of the scheme through the Victorian
Real Estate Institute, it is thought that no estate agents did, in fact, participate. This could have
been for a number of reasons, not least because the association may not have passed the
information on to its members.

Given that estate agents are potentially a good source of information to those cleaning out their
house in preparation for a move, it would be worth looking at ways to encourage their
participation in any more permanent scheme.

    Recycling Used Electronics, Report on Minnesota’s Demonstration Project, p39, Minnesota Office of Environmental

                                                                                                                      50    Charities

It is not known whether any charities participated in the scheme. However, as the number of
charities accepting second-hand electrical product is decreasing, it seems reasonable to not
directly target charities as a source of product but rather to concentrate marketing campaigns on
other areas, assuming that any interested organisation (including charities) would hear about the
project through the more general campaigns.    Kerbside

As described in Chapter Three, the pilot was unable to utilise kerbside collection of TVs through
the normal hardwaste collection due to long-term contractual arrangements already in place.
These could not be changed for the relatively short duration of a pilot project. It is envisaged that,
should TV recycling become the norm, it would not be difficult to structure future kerbside hard
waste collection contracts to provide for the recycling of TVs and related equipment. It should be
noted, however, that this would require a reverse in the increasing trend to compacting in hard
waste collection.

Other options, not investigated in this project, include occasional collection events and
competitive tendering of collection. These options may be worth investigating. Further
information is included in Chapter Five.

4.2.    Costs

4.2.1. Overall costs

The cost of running the pilot scheme included capital costs and infrastructure development,
collection and processing, signage, administration and marketing. Work in-kind provided for a
considerable amount of the overall scheme administration, and also for some capital costs.

A breakdown of the major costs associated with running the pilot scheme is presented in Figure
4.8. Each of these costs is then examined individually. All costs are presented in AUD$.




               $40,000.00                                                                                                                                                       in kind
               $30,000.00                                                                                                                                                       cash


                                                                                       costs (not. incl.

                                                                                                                                            Publicity &
                                                                                                                          Transport costs

                                                   Plant &



Fig. 4.8 Breakdown of pilot scheme major costs

4.2.2. Costs to recycler    Capital costs (plant and equipment)

Plant and equipment costs
amounted to $42,000. This                                                                                                                                                       24%
included the estimated value of an
in-kind donation of an air
operating crane from Sharp, one
of the participating companies, as
well as the design and
construction of a turntable on
which to process the TVs.
                                                             Labour per unit                                                                                        Transport (incl.forklift & handling)
                                                             Power                                                                                                  Rent, repair, maintenance, depreciation
(right) Fig. 4.9 Breakdown of                                Net cost of materials

processing costs per unit

                                                                                                                                                                                                       52     Cost per unit

The basic cost to the recycler of collecting and processing each unit is presented in Figure 4.9.
Capital costs and all costs associated with the scheme’s general administration are not included in
this diagram.

It can be clearly seen that the net cost of the materials recovered – ie revenues gained from the
materials with a market value, minus costs incurred in processing/ disposing other components -
is the largest single cost, representing almost 50 per cent of total costs.

Labour and transport were the other major costs, at 24 and 22 per cent respectively.

Each of the three major costs (materials, labour, collection and transport) are analysed in more
detail below.     Collection and transport

Transport and collection (including driver) averaged $40 per hour, with a typical load comprising
approximately 50 TVs (a full load, with current stillages) and a four to five hours return trip. The
transport costs per unit therefore averaged $4-5 per item.     Processing

Processing costs can be broken down into two basic parts: direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs

It took an average time of 21 minutes to dismantle and separate each TV once it was at on the
processing turntable at MRI.

Assuming productivity is at 85 per cent, labour costs for the processing alone (ie excluding
collection, scheme administration, marketing, etc.) worked out at $5.21 per unit. (This figure
includes all superannuation, annual leave, sick leave, work cover, etc.)

Other direct costs

Other direct costs were associated with the end market value of each of the components recovered
from the dismantled display devices. These are illustrated below.

Direct cost item                                   Net value ($) (per unit, excl. GST)
Labour                                             - 5.21
Recycling side glass                               - 6.14
Recycling front glass                              -1.59
Recycling electronics                              + 2.50
Case disposal                                      - 0.73
Yoke recycling                                     + 0.50
Sub total                                          - 10.67

Table 4.1 Direct cost – end market value evaluation of components recovered.

As detailed, only two materials had a positive net value: the recovered electronics and the
(copper) yokes. The total direct cost per unit of dismantling and processing, was around $10.67.

Indirect costs
Indirect costs incurred by MRI were relatively small per unit, at $1.77. A breakdown of the
indirect costs is presented in Table 4.2.

With costs such as collection of product by MRI, and end products to third party for
recycling/disposal included, but excluding general scheme administration, marketing and
promotion, the cost per unit (excluding GST) rises to around $21.00.

Indirect cost item                                  Net value ($) (per unit, excl. GST)
Power                                               - 0.50
Depreciation                                        - 0.81
Forklift                                            - 0.09
Repairs & maintenance                               - 0.18
Administration                                      - 0.09
Rent                                                - 0.55
Sub total                                           - 1.77

Table 4.2 Indirect costs of dismantling and processing    Marketing (publicity & signage)

The marketing budget for the project was small, with a cash value of only approximately $4,000.
This covered the design and printing of pamphlets about the project, and signage for transfer

It is worth noting, however, that a proportion of the in-kind costs attributed to ‘administration’
were marketing-related. In addition to the work on the pamphlets and signs, this included
production and distribution of media releases - and handling of the resultant interviews, writing of
letters to identified sources of TVs, as described in Chapter Two.

5. Media and Community

One area which the pilot project sought to test was the views of the community within the project
area about the recycling of consumer electronics and the various impediments that might be
encountered within the community to a wider program. At the outset of the project members of
the project team sought to anticipate possible impediments to individual participation. These
possible impediments were no more than assumptions based on the views of team members. The
list of possible impediments considered included:

•   Cost would likely be dissuasive
•   Convenience and location of drop off centres
•   Size and weight of receivers
•   Lack of perceived value in the project objective
•   Assumptions about existing recovery and recycling

A particular concern was the role of media advertising as a way of enlisting local involvement in
the project. Within the limits of the study it was felt to be important to establish what media
messages would best serve the interests of the project and how individuals responded to the
media messages. Local media was selected because of the limited geographic scope of the pilot

This section of the report deals with three elements of the project:

•   Responses to the community awareness information line;
•   The views expressed in the focus groups held in the collection area; and
•   Assessment of the media output

5.1.     Community Awareness and Action

As described in Chapter Two, there were two main methods for measuring community awareness
and action: focus group and the 1800 InfoLine. Both highlighted a number of important issues
concerning consumer knowledge, behaviour and attitudes in relation to TV recycling.

5.1.1. InfoLine

There were 44 callers to EcoRecycle’s InfoLine between late November and early April. All of
the telephone calls were in response to an article in a local newspaper. A high proportion of
callers were elderly, and the most common reason for calling was to inquire about the nearest
drop-off location.

All callers were asked if they would participate, at a later date, in a Community Attitudes Forum
(the focus groups). Unfortunately, few, when contacted later, agreed to participate – mostly
because they were elderly and did not want to travel for the sessions. However, there was also the
problem that a number of ‘willing participants’ had provided false contact details.

The callers were asked a series of questions. The results are summarised below, with full details
available at Appendix E.

Approximately half the TVs that callers intended to dispose of were in working order. Before
hearing about the TV pilot project, most respondents had considered disposing of their old TV in
their council’s hard waste collection service. Other options considered included disposal to
landfill, giving it away and recycling it. A number of callers advised, after hearing how they
could participate, that they would not, in fact, be able to drop-off their TV. The most common
reason for this was that they lived too far away, or were elderly and physically unable to transport
their TV.

Only half of the respondents correctly believed that the normal disposal route for EoL TVs was to
landfill. One-third admitted they did not know, and 18 per cent believed they were re-used or

The majority of callers were aware that the disposal of TVs could cause environmental damage,
with only 14 per cent of respondents believing that they is no environmental impact. Beliefs about
the possible nature of the environmental impact included radioactive leakage, toxic/hazardous
chemicals and gases, and issues associated with lead.

Finally, understanding of the economics of recycling was gauged, with respondents asked if they
knew that there is a net cost associated with recycling a TV. Forty-one percent said that they did
believe there would be a net cost, with one caller adding: “but it’s worth the effort”.

5.1.2. Focus Groups    Participation in recycling

Most of the participants claimed that they are already involved in recycling, with different levels
of participation for different products. Most participants mentioned kerbside recycling of
packaging and paper, with some also recycling green waste through kerbside collections and
other hard rubbish through Council collections. A few participants also said that they take wastes
to transfer stations for recycling – car batteries, steel and paints were specifically mentioned.

A key issue emerging at this stage of the discussion, which became an important theme in later
discussions about TV recycling, was the need for community education.

“I know there are a lot of people out there who aren’t aware or educated about what you
                can and can’t recycle, but once you’re educated…(its easy)”    Current disposal and recycling practices for appliances and TVs

The main disposal routes mentioned for used appliances were:

    •   Given to friends and family (for working appliances that are no longer wanted)
    •   Put out for Council hard rubbish collections (for both working and non-working
    •   Disposed in normal rubbish bin (for small appliances only).

Hard rubbish collections were viewed very favourably, because of the convenience factor.
Removal of items from the street by members of the public after being put out was also seen as

  “We just put out a dryer for the hard garbage collection that comes round next week”

“The thing with hard rubbish – you know someone’s going to come along and collect half
                             of it – they obviously think it’s useful”

                    “They can help themselves, once it’s out of my yard.”

Other disposal routes mentioned by a few participants were:

    •   Donate to charities (for working appliances, eg Diabetes Foundation, Salvation Army) –
        either collected from the person’s home or taken to a drop-off centre
    •   Taken away by the retail delivery person when delivering a new appliance
    •   Sold through the Trading Post
    •   Taken to a transfer Station or landfill.

In general, participants said that they did not throw away an appliance that was still working. The
preference is to put it into another room in the house (eg bedroom), give it away to someone they
know, or donate to charity. Although some ‘working appliances’ are put into the hard rubbish
collection, these are normally faulty in some way.

          “I’d find someone who needs it. I wouldn’t just throw something away”

 “We just bought a new TV from Harvey Norman. The guy came and set it up for us and
asked if he wanted us to take it away I said oh no we’re going to put it in the bedroom or

 “I put it [the computer] out the front. Someone took it straight away and it was useless”

 “The dryer I put out is working but just needs some TLC – making a few funny noises.
                                    Not efficient but working.”

There was recognition that many appliances are replaced even though they are still working or
could be fixed. Reasons given included:

    •   Availability of a more up to date model
    •   The high cost of repair compared to the cost of a new appliance

   “You don’t replace something because the old one is broken – the new model is so
                                 much superior to the old one”

                                  “It’s status – a social thing”      Environmental impacts of appliances and TVs

Most participants admitted that they had never thought about the environmental impacts of

                 “Most people don’t go through enough TVs to think about it”

 “Most things are compacted, so something like a TV once compacted won’t have much

Some had fairly definite views when asked about what makes up a TV:

                                         “Nasty things”

              “Cathode ray tube, transistors, capacitors…fairly toxic aren’t they?”


                                “Everything has toxic content!”

Most participants expressed a willingness to participate in a recycling scheme if it reduced
environmental impacts.

“But if there’s an option that we could do something with a non-working appliance I’d use
                         it. If I didn’t have to go out of my way to use it”

   “I like the idea that when you buy a new appliance they offer to take it away. When
someone takes something away you don’t think about it – what they do with it…once it’s
                                         out of your sight.”

Knowledge about what happens to old appliances at the moment was fairly limited. Some
believed that they are recycled; others that they are simply put into landfill.      Costs of recycling appliances

There was some discussion about the cost of recycling appliances and who should pay. Several
participants believed that recycling must cost money, but that industry would not be involved
unless they could make money out of it.

  “Companies wouldn’t start up recycling if there was no money in it. They are privately
 owned recycling businesses so I imagine that sooner or later governments will have to
   make a decision that we pay for it if they can’t get a private enterprise to recycle…”

Participants had differing views about whether or not there should be a charge for recycling

           “It’s not a good thing that we pay but it’s a good thing that we recycle”

 “We’ve got to look after the environment. We pay through our rates or whatever but we
     have to pay because it’s our children or grandchildren will be left with the waste”

“Surely the recycling is of advantage somewhere to someone along the line somewhere
                              so why should I have to pay for that”

   “I wouldn’t pay, I would not expect to pay. I think its what you’re used to; my council
                                takes away my recycled rubbish”

Throughout the discussion, if recycling charges were mentioned they were generally in the order
of $5 - $20, regardless of whether the cost was being discussed in relation to council rates, the
purchase price or a disposal fee.

 “If they said within 24 hours they’d pick it …and it cost you $10 ...depending on the size
 of the item...and if you knew it was going to be fully recycled [I’d support it]. If you go to
 the tip you have to pay $20 anyway, so why go to the hassle of going to the tip if for the
                                      same price or less…”

    “I wouldn’t go unless I had a trailer load, and if I knew it was going to go to a good
purpose, and if I knew it was only going to cost me $5 for the whitegoods and $15 for the
                 green waste, then I’d make a point of taking the whitegoods.”

A common view expressed by participants was that the community would participate in recycling
programs and even pay for them, if they were educated about the benefits.

 “It’ll be a hard thing to sell to people – people don’t like parting with hard earned wages
unless they can see a direct benefit. They’ll have to start educating people and plugging
                            it through the schools. They’ll accept it.”

One or two of the participants were more sceptical about the community’s willingness to

                   “Here we have no real conscience…there is no incentive”

However, there were mixed views on whether or not any charge should be at point of purchase or

               “You pay for it in your rates…that’s much better it’s a hidden cost”

“If the manufacturer automatically charged you $10 - $20 to take away your old one …its
 got to be a hidden cost…there’s no point asking people to pay at the end…its got to be
      built in so you don’t actually realize you’re paying – we already pay the GST.”

                           “You’ve got to pay up front and that’s it”

       “If you have to pay $10 or $15 to have your TV replaced then you just pay it”

   “You only buy a TV every 10 years. It should be paid when you buy a new one or at
  disposal. You’ve got to start to educate people that this is where the world is going to
               end up. We’ve got to start taking responsibility for our actions”    Responsibility for recycling

There were no strong views in the group about who should be responsible for recycling, although
some felt that it should be government, some the manufacturer or retailer, and some saw it as a
shared responsibility.

                    “Industry’s role is to make sure systems are in place”

    “Responsibility is for everyone – the region to the manufacturer and consumer. If
 manufacturers starts taking things back costs will go up – there needs to be a balance
                              between costs and the consumer.”

  “I could never imagine retailers taking on the responsibility – maybe the government”

       “Why not responsibility throughout the chain – manufacturers, government”

      “I don’t think we should continue relying on the government – we should take
                                   responsibility ourselves”

 “Maybe manufacturers should play a greater role – the federal government should lay
   down a law that manufacturers should take responsibility in years to come – even if
                     there is a cost. At the moment it’s all over the place”

                                                                                                  63    Options for a TV collection program

One of the strongest conclusions that can be drawn from the focus group is that participants want
a range of options for recycling. A couple of the participants (both males) liked the idea of taking
appliances to a transfer station because they go there anyway. Others liked the idea of retailers
taking back old appliances when consumers buy a new one. Others thought this was too
impractical. Several participants mentioned the weight of old TVs in particular, and the
difficulties they would have in physically taking them anywhere. While they agreed that taking
back a small appliance would be no problem, their preferred method of collection for larger
appliances (including TVs) was the council hard rubbish collection or removal by a delivery
person bringing the new appliance.

“I think there is merit in the department stores, saying keep your receipt, and in 10 years
                                   we’ll recycle your old TV.”

                               “I think we need options, choices”

“[Taking it to a retail store is] …more inconvenient, especially with the kids and the pram.
                                How am I going to get it there?”

 “So you’ve got to throw your old TV in the car or wherever to pick up your new one, it’s
                                             no effort”

“…convenience is a big thing. I’m not going to take a TV anywhere. As I said, I get things
                          delivered. I’d like to get things picked up.”

 “A lot of the older TVs like we’ve got an old one in our family room, it’s heavy! I couldn’t
                                               lift it.”

 “It would depend on what size. I’d be quite happy to take a little portable but not one of
                                         the old big ones”

       “Some people might be single; not able to get out and do things…or elderly”

                                                                                                    64      Education

Another strong theme that emerged from the discussion was the need for good education
programs to inform people about two key things:

    •   The availability of recycling options; and
    •   The benefits of participating, i.e. what is going to happen to the used appliances,
        environmental and other benefits (e.g. benefiting others through charity programs).

Many participants felt that a good education program would overcome some of the obvious
barriers, such as inconvenience or cost to consumers.

  “If the government was going to do it, they should advertise in the local paper so we
                                        know what to do”

“It’s all about convenience. But then I grew up not recycling. It’s only in the last 10 years
   that we’ve started to recycle. So I’m not that educated about recycling. But if I knew
 more about it – what’s going to happen with it, to what purpose, why is it necessary, to
                          what good, then maybe I’ll make the effort.”

                “If people knew then they might make the effort, pay the price”

           “If you can see what they do with’d make a more conscious effort”

5.2.       Media Coverage

When the hard data is analysed, the correlation between TV drop-off and media coverage is not
as strong as the project team expected from comments received. On December 19 2001, the pilot
project was featured in the Manningham Focus and Knox Journal, relating to the Whitehorse and
Knox transfer stations respectively. As can be seen in Figure 5.1, and allowing for the fact that it
would likely take a few weeks before any increase was evident in the recycler’s figures, the
coverage appeared to have little impact on Whitehorse, with numbers actually declining slightly.
At Knox, an increase is evident, and again with the local radio coverage. It is difficult to be
confident that the coverage is responsible for the trend, however, as the decline into March, and
then sudden uptake again in April is not linked to any media coverage.

                                                All Eastern
                                                              Local press:
                           Local press:
  500                                                         Knox, Eastern,





            Sept    Oct      Nov          Dec         Jan     Feb        Mar   Apr   May

Fig. 5.1 Correlation between media coverage and TV drop-offs: September 2001- May 2002

Similarly, coverage in early February by the Maroonda Focus and Knox Leader, relating to the
Knox, Eastern and Montrose transfer stations, was not obviously tied to peaks in drop-offs.

Further, it had been advertised that the pilot would finish in March, and no advice went out to the
contrary, yet there was a peak in April.

When the collection trends are examined in line with public holidays, there appears to be a more
direct correlation. This can be explained by holidays providing the opportunity to have a clean-
up. This also provides explanation for the April peak. That an estimated 60-75% of TVs arrived
as part of a mixed load, provides further reason to favour this explanation for peaks and troughs.

Healesville, one of the more rural stations, reported (at interview) that it collected very few TVs ,
with insignificant activity or drop off to make any meaningful conclusions or observations.
Interestingly, analysis of the TVs collected from Healesville shows that they received more TVs
than Lysterfield or Whitehorse, and they were on par with Wesburn and Montrose. Lysterfield
was not interviewed. Despite collecting relatively few TVs, Wesburn and Montrose were both
enthusiastic about the trial. Whitehorse reported at interview that it had a constant stream of TVs,
averaging 20 per week – perhaps evidence that enthusiasm can distort memory, as the recycler’s
figures record an average of less than three per week.

In summary, it seems reasonable to conclude that awareness of how many TVs were arriving into
transfer stations increased quite significantly with the pilot project, but for a number of transfer
stations, the number may not actually have been much inflated compared to ‘business as usual’.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1.    Introduction

This project was undertaken with the primary objective of trialling the diversion of consumer
electronics (namely TVs) from landfill. It set about to identify problems and gather data that
would have significance for a wider program of environmental management of consumer
electronics. The end point of the project for industry participants has been to gather sufficient
information and confidence to implement a wider scheme of product stewardship. The conviction
of industry participants is that a wider scheme of product stewardship must be built from the
ground up with the emphasis given to creating opportunities for enhancing the viability and
profitability of the waste recovery and processing sector.

This approach is shared by other members of the project and stems from the obvious fact that in
the Australian context the level of design and manufacturing control that firms can exert over
consumer electronics is negligible. This is often overlooked when comparisons are made between
Australia and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
economies such as those of the European Union, United States and Japan. Australia is a product
taker. Our problem in the context of the environmental impact of consumer electronics is less one
of sustainable production and more one of sustainable consumption. Products entering this
market are invariably those selected from products designed for other larger markets. However, if
Australian consumer electronics suppliers are not in a position to directly influence the design and
manufacturing processes there remains much that they can contribute to support EoL product
recovery and processing.

The pilot project was commenced with the objective of identifying problems and posing solutions
to the challenge of dealing with consumer electronics at the end their useable life. The project has
answered certain questions about:

•   The handling and collection of consumer electronics
•   Processing options
•   Consumer and public interest
•   Research and Development

•   Collaborative working between private and public interests
•   Hazardous waste management
•   Research and Development required

While the options explored during the course of the project are not exhaustive they are
sufficiently grounded in the practical problems associated with diverting consumer electronics
from landfill to make a useful contribution to outlining what a future course of action might
entail. Details of the project results are discussed in this chapter with that end purpose in mind.

The following few comments reflect the views of the project team members combined with the
benefit of views expressed by other interested parties and the insights gained from overseas
initiatives in Japan and Europe. They look at the how a policy of product stewardship might work
out in the context of managing consumer electronics. These comments are not intended to be
exhaustive but are offered as contributions towards determining what operating, funding and
institutional arrangements may need to be put in place to support a recovery and processing
scheme for consumer electronics.

6.2.    Handling, Collection and Transportation

Summary of recommendations for handling, collection and transportation
•   Identify retail interests that see opportunity in supporting environmental programs.
•   Commission design and manufacture of specialised collection stillages
•   A set of standard operating procedures should be distributed and maintained to reduce
    double, triple, quadruple handling of product
•   A system for covered storage needs to be developed as a long-term aim to minimise handling
    and damage to product.
•   Investigate a reward system to keep incentive up – e.g. providing publicity for centres,
    encouragement of friendly competition between centres; reward for individuals
•   Schedule regular briefing sessions at sites to ensure all staff were aware of scheme, and
    encourage ownership by discussing problems and suggested improvements with centres.
•   Engage the expertise of specialist transport and logistics firms to determine what
    opportunities exist for an extended scheme to utilise back-loading of road and rail freight

•   Develop and evaluate a mobile plant and/or partial processing model for use in regional
    aggregation points as a means of extending the reach of any program to areas outside urban
•   Government and research bodies should consider how they might support development of
    alternative methods for handling leaded glass
•   Manufacturers and Suppliers should continue to monitor in company programs related to the
    management of leaded glass
•   Attention must be given to preparing terms of contract with any industrial service provider to
    ensure that any ongoing program is not encumbered with a toxic waste for which there is no
    acceptable application
•   Every effort must be made to establish competitive ‘markets’ for leaded glass

6.2.1. General

Television receivers present a number of handling collection and transportation problems that
were clearly evident in the course of the pilot project. If poorly managed these are likely to affect
the viability of a dedicated recovery scheme more than any other set of challenges facing the
processing of TVs and consumer electronics. The essential problem is that the methods and
logistics associated with placing products onto the market do not work readily in reverse. The
chain from supplier to wholesaler to retailer and ultimately consumer seems to break down at two
critical points.

The first point of breakdown is at the point of consumer handling. Two factors seem to dominate.
Firstly, there is evident resistance on the part of consumers to handling and transporting EoL
product. The most obvious reason for this is the practical problem of moving what is invariably a
heavy, awkward and to some extent fragile product. Clearly, returning a TVs to a point of sale is
not the same proposition for a consumer as returning a mobile phone to a conveniently located
bin. The problem of TV recovery is more akin to that of major appliances. The second factor that
seems to work against applying a simple reverse logistics to TV recovery is the very obvious
convenience factor of hard waste collections and the view that such services were paid for in rates
and charges levied by local government.

The reluctance on the part of retail outlets to participate in the pilot scheme is the second point
where a reverse logistics solution to TV recovery breaks down. Few retailers were prepared to
handle point of sale literature. None were prepared to consider acting as an accumulation point
despite the collection threshold for collection being only six units. The reason for this reluctance
to be involved was to a large extent due to the perceived costs of accumulation for a retail outlet.
The floor space required for accumulation did not exist in many cases and where it was available
its use represented a real cost both in terms of the direct outlays for leasing of the space and the
indirect costs associated with the displacement of some other function that would necessarily
occur. Only a limited quantity of new product is delivered to consumer homes and installed from
retail outlets, particularly large-size, high-value units. This limited the opportunity to make use of
any removal service along the lines that are now evident with major appliances, especially as the
point of delivery of a new TV is not necessarily when a decision is taken to dispose of an old one
(unless it is not working). It is possible, however, that this may offer some avenues for recovery
of EoL product from consumers.

A further point to be considered is that the entire notion that retailers might have any role in a
social and environmental activity such as product stewardship was quite foreign to retail
operations. This is not a moral judgement on retail, but simply an observation that retailing
efficiency is a one way channel. While individuals might have some sympathy with the intent of
product stewardship the retail operation is simply not geared towards handling large-scale
consumer durables at EoL. There clearly needs to be further engagement with the retail sector to
determine what role the retail industry or specific retailers might play in product stewardship.
This is essential for two reasons. Firstly a growing number of retailers are direct importers of
product. As such they stand in the place of the manufacturer as the party responsible for placing
products on the Australian market and therefore having some role in supporting EoL
management. The second reason is that the retail sector is in direct relationship with the consumer
and represents at the least a direct opportunity for imparting important information to consumers
if not a channel for take back of consumer electronics.

Having made these points, the project team is of the view that it would be counter-productive to
coerce the retail sector into collaboration and that it may be necessary to consider the issue of
compensating retailers for the real cost associated with supporting product stewardship programs.
The project team therefore recommends that:

Opportunities must be taken to identify retail interests that see opportunity in supporting
environmental programs.

The experience gained in the project points to the need for recovery of consumer electronics to be
supported by a number of different avenues. The pilot project utilised transfer stations and service
centres. It would, in our view, be detrimental to the success of any program if any of the range of
possible collection options outlined below could not somehow be co-opted to support a formal
program. However, we do not believe that it is necessary to conduct a series of pilot projects to
test each option. The extent to which alternate methods can be applied to collection should be left
to the developers of any future program to pursue. In the case of public funded infrastructure such
as transfer stations and hardwaste, a formal program for recovery of consumer electronics could
offer real cost savings with relatively minor adjustment to existing funded programs. Table 6.1
outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with a range of options.

             Option                                                           Advantages                                                                       Disadvantages
Hard rubbish separation           •   Convenient to resident                                                                           •   Costly of separate collection vehicle
                                  •   Established infrastructure                                                                       •   Exposure to weather (affects re-use potential) – with
                                  •   Well used                                                                                            collection frequency varying with council
                                                                                                                                       •   Growing trend towards use of compacting in hardwaste
                                                                                                                                           collection would need to be reversed.
Transfer stations                 •   Established infrastructure                                                                       •   Transport difficult for some people
                                  •   Well used                                                                                        •   Some product in mixed load does not get seen, so is not
                                  •   Convenient (can take mixed loads)                                                                    separated
                                  •   Established procedures of recycling (for operators)                                              •   Exposure to weather (some stations)
Retail take-back                  •   One of major interfaces with consumers                                                           •   Expensive storage space
                                  •   Opportunity to exploit delivery service (charge or no charge) – not necessarily with retailers   •   Retail efficiency
                                      who sell TVs (e.g. Bunnings – space less problem – potential opportunity to attract through-
                                  •   Marketing opportunities
                                  •   Improved condition of recovered product
Service centres                   •   Interface with consumers                                                                         •   Life of service centres
                                  •   Improved condition of product                                                                    •   Service centres shutting as consumers increasingly
                                                                                                                                           choose to replace rather than repair
Charities                         •   Convenient for some                                                                              •   Liability issues
                                  •   Re-use opportunities                                                                             •   OH&S issues
                                  •   Available infrastructure                                                                         •   Many charities do not take electrical product
                                  •   Could be revenue source for charities
Occasional collection events in   •   Existing structure                                                                               •   Need for staffed mobile facility
combination with existing         •   Existing timetable                                                                               •   Plant expensive
events (e.g. Household            •   No need for permanent facility                                                                   •   Needs to be cleaned up in one day
Chemical Collection               •   Concentrated marketing & communication                                                           •   Queuing potential problem
                                  •   Target regions – could potentially use outside urban areas
Competitive tendering (through    •   Existing infrastructure widespread                                                               •   No investigations completed on potential interest
collection via transport          •   Competitive
   Table 6.1 Advantages and disadvantages associated with collection point options

Transfer stations are a feature of urban waste infrastrucutre in Melbourne. The model seems to
offer significant benefits and might be studied by other regions as a method for supporting
recovery and separation of waste streams.

Of the options explored in the pilot, the most successful avenues for recovery were transfer
stations and service centres. Although hard rubbish collections were the most obvious means for
collection suggested by those participating in the focus groups, there was no requirement in the
contracts in force within the region for hardwaste collection that could support separation and
recovery of consumer electronics such as TVs. When tendering for hardwaste collection in the
future, local government might consider building into the contracts a requirement for separation
of consumer electronics. The competitive tendering process will allow ample scope for waste
transport sector to identify efficient and effective ways of achieving this.

Service centres proved to be a useful source of material although a high proportion of what was
collected from this source was parts rather than entire units. Limitations of space and the
diversion from core business activities proved to be problematic for service centres. To
accommodate service centres as collection points it would be necessary to support them through
minimising storage and handling demands. Experience gained during the project suggests that
this could be achieved by designing, building and distributing custom designed stillages that
would accommodate TVs and could be easily moved from service premises to collection vehicles.
This would be a benefit not only to service centres but would also greatly minimise the handling
costs in rental outlets and transfer stations. A device of this type together with a regular collection
schedule or collection on demand system might also facilitate participation by some retail outlets.

The proposed specification details for stillage are included in Appendix J. It is recommend that as
a preliminary to development of any formal program that the specifications quoted be studied and
sample stillages constructed to prove the validity of the design.

Transfer stations proved the most useful source of EoL product. Transfer stations did not support
a proposition of charging a drop off fee for consumer electronics. The reason for this was clearly
that a charge would prove a disincentive and would likely result in consumer electronics being
hidden in mixed loads of waste. Source separation needs to be encouraged at earliest possible
point. The project team believes that transfer stations should utilise differential pricing policies to

ensure source separation by general public on drop off. For example, the use of a fee might apply
in circumstances where consumer refused to separate loads in order to support the separation at
the transfer stations. The pricing options need to be explored in greater detail.

Handling experience of TVs at the transfer
stations suggests a number of
recommendations that would improve the
efficiency of handling and the quality of
product recovered. It was evident in the pilot
project that a significant variation in the
attitude and knowledge of transfer stations.
Transfer centres saw the scheme as quite
central to their function and good for their
own contact with the community. Personal
briefing of service centre staff, with follow-
up written briefings, was a useful way of
conveying the mission of the project and enlisting support. Few problems were encountered, but
those that did were usually related to the arrival of new staff who had missed out on briefing
sessions. And, while no transfer station performed poorly, the actions of enthusiastic individual
operators reflected positively on the project.

The following recommendations would facilitate collection, and would be equally applicable to
methods of collection and storage other than transfer stations.

•   Specialised stillages and regular and on demand collection.
•   A set of standard operating procedures should be distributed and maintained to reduce
    double, triple, quadruple handling of product
•   A system for covered storage needs to be developed as a long-term aim to minimise handling
    and damage to product. This would be of increasing importance where there was a
    possibility re-using CRTs
•   Investigation of a reward system to keep incentive up – e.g. providing publicity for centres,
    encouragement of friendly competition between centres; reward for individuals
•   Scheduling of regular briefing sessions at sites to ensure all staff were aware of scheme, and
    encourage ownership by discussing problems and suggested improvements with centres.

6.2.2. Transportation

Transfer stations played an important role in reducing costs associated with the recovery of
receivers. However even with the opportunities for aggregation and collection from transfer
stations the cost of transportation from these facilities to the processing centre represented
approximately 40 per cent of total costs for a mostly urban collection area. To a large extent this
was due to the handling involved in loading the transport vehicle. These costs should be amenable
to adjustment through technical modifications (e.g. use of specially-designed stillages).

Even with greater efficiency in handling transportation costs will be a major factor affecting any
extension of the pilot and may greatly affect the viability of rural collections. This is clearly a
factor outside the scope of this pilot project and it is one that that requires further investigation.
The TV Pilot project team strongly recommends that the following options be considered in
development of an operational scheme:

•   The expertise of specialist transport and logistics firms be engaged to determine what
    opportunities exist for an extended scheme to utilise back-loading of road and rail freight
•   A mobile plant and/or partial processing model for use in regional aggregation points be
    developed and evaluated as a means of extending the reach of any program to areas outside
    urban centres.

6.2.3. Disassembly and processing issues

The disassembly and processing applied to consumer electronics recovered under the project is
described in chapter 3. Two steps were fundamental to this process:

•   Preservation of the CRT intact
•   Utilisation of the leaded glass in an industrial smelting process

Different processes have been observed in Japanese and European facilities that have developed
consumer electronics processing capabilities. The schemes used in Japan are documented in the
videocassette submitted as part of this report. In summary, the Japanese facilities were noted to

operate in a significantly different industrial, cultural, social and institutional environment. This
was evident from some key features of their scheme:

•   Use of an honour system of recycling fees
•   Capital intensive systems
•   Competing models for recovery and processing
•   Proximity to design and manufacturing industries

Although very different from the Melbourne pilot project in terms of scale and the level of capital
applied, the schemes observed in Japan were highly instructive in terms of the handling and
processing techniques.

The two facilities observed in Europe were MIREC at Eindhoven, Netherlands and Sheffield,
UK. In both facilities the approach to processing was significantly less refined that that observed
in Japan or applied under the Melbourne pilot project. Indeed, the operations in Europe could be
described as minimal in terms of environmental objectives, as:

•   CRT separation from the TV was by a simple hammer blow
•   The CRT was then dropped into a chute and crushed with no effort to avoid damage to the
    CRT or to separate side screen and front glass.

This approach raises some interesting questions in terms of whether the pilot project has over-
engineered the processing technique by using placing such a high value on dismantling and
separation techniques. In comparison to the EU facilities the procedures applied under the pilot
project could be considered more elaborate labour intensive and costly than necessary. It should
be noted, however, that the WEEE Directive is likely to increase the demands of what is required
at plants such as these.

The other major difference between the pilot process and that used in EU facilities was the glass
disposal. At Eindhoven and Sheffield the glass was put through a washing process to remove
lead. The recovered material was then put back into glass production in applications such as
making table tops. By comparison, glass recovered in Japanese processes was used for
remanufacture of CRTs.

Under the pilot scheme, the use of leaded glass in an industrial smelter as a fluxing agent was the
elected method for final processing. The direct and indirect costs of doing this were quite high at
$680 per tonne. It was, however, considered to be the only viable option given the factors
affecting what could and could not be done with the material. Obviously a purist solution would
be to see the glass returned to CRT manufacture. This is simply not possible: CRT manufacture is
a highly centralised global industry and no such capability exists in Australia. Further, regulatory
arrangements would appear to make it difficult to transport leaded glass to a suitable facility.
Lastly, CRT manufacture may be of a limited life in the medium term depending on the take up
of LCD and plasma screen technologies. The option of following a washing process and
secondary manufacturing for leaded glass was not considered to be the best environmental
outcome. Thus the option selected was preferred because:

•   It supported an industrial application resident within Australia
•   It offered an opportunity to reduce the reuse of virgin materials as a fluxing agent
•   It was an existing investment that would not be adversely affected by withdrawal of resource
    if CRT technology is superseded.

That said, the level of cost that the preferred option exposed the pilot scheme to is obviously a
matter of concern for the viability of an ongoing program. In particular, the limited number of
industrial users of leaded glass leaves any scheme at the mercy of a single buyer. There is the
added problem that changes in the buyers’ operations cannot exclude the possibility of them
exiting the industry, which would leave any ongoing program highly vulnerable. Notwithstanding
these possible difficulties, the current options for dealing with leaded glass within Australia
means that the industrial smelting process is a strongly favoured option. For the reasons stated
above, however, it cannot be factored into any ongoing scheme as a permanent service available
for use.

As a final comment on the processing of consumer electronics the pilot project group has not
observed any efforts anywhere to recover highly valuable rare earth elements from screen
phosphors. Early in the pilot project, the team explored this option with the CSIRO, with a view
to exploiting the recovery of REEs to reduce the net deficit of collection and processing. However
advice received was that this was not technically feasible.

In considering the issues surrounding processing of CRTs the pilot project group recommends the

•   Government and research bodies should consider how they might support development of
    alternative methods for handling leaded glass
•   Manufacturers and Suppliers should continue to monitor in company programs related to the
    management of leaded glass
•   Attention must be given to preparing terms of contract with any industrial service provider to
    ensure that any ongoing program is not encumbered with a toxic waste for which there is no
    acceptable application
•   Every effort must be made to establish competitive ‘markets’ for leaded glass

6.3.    R&D and Market Development Issues

Summary of recommendations relating to R&D and market development issues
•   The acquisition of technologies for dealing with brominated fire retardant must be assessed
•   A reliable system for identification of plastics is required
•   Suppliers need to establish a clear feedback link to their manufacturing centres to determine
    under what terms a more uniform approach to plastics in consumer electronics can be
•   Australian Suppliers/Manufacturers and Government Agencies supporting environmental
    programs should consider collaboration and support for the work proposed under the
    PROMISE project on embedded intelligence for plastics and to be carried out by Swinburne
    University of Technology
•   Short term solutions for use of plastics in energy or oil recovery should be assessed
•   Short term solutions for wood fibre disposal should be assessed

The most daunting challenge for any product recovery scheme is the question of what to do with
recovered materials. Only a small proportion of consumer electronics can be considered to be of
sufficient value to generate and sustain economically viable recovery programs. Consequently the
processing of electrical and electronics at the end of life must be supported by sufficiently well
founded research and development programs as well as secondary market development to ensure
that product recovery does not stall at the stage of accumulating dis-aggregated materials.

Consumer electronics present a number of difficult problems that will need to be resolved if there
is to be any useful secondary use of materials collected. The most significant of these relate to

1       The extensive use of brominated fire retardant in plastics.
2       The problem of plastics identification.

In the short – medium term, timber casings also present a disposal problem.

6.3.1. Connecting to International Research Initiatives

The industrial base of Australia precludes the possibility of large scale applied industrial research
being conducted here on waste management issues for consumer electronics. Not withstanding
the role that can be taken by universities, CRCs and other institutions, many suppliers to the
Australian market do not have sufficient scale of operations to conduct industrial research
programs. Programs that are known to be underway which are relevant to Australian needs in
product recovery are inevitably being carried out close to corporate centres of R&D. An
important consideration for the future must be to determine how Australia can access the results
of this work and ensure that it can be applied to the processing of collected and dis-aggregated

Examples of the research that we consider to be fundamental to the success of consumer
electronics recycling, particularly plastics are:

Treatment of Brominated Fire retardant

Matsushita has undertaken development of an advanced plastic recycling system that specifically
seeks to address the separation of flame retardant used in consumer electronics products. The
system has the potential to accelerate the recycling of EoL consumer electronics. The company
plans to release a commercial version of the system during fiscal 2003, which ends March 31,

The system is known to recycle plastics containing flame retardants using the following process:

•   Plastic parts are crushed.
•   The pieces are heated until they become soft.
•   A liquid solvent is added.
•   The solvent melts only the flame retardant, separating it from the plastic using newly
    developed kneading technology employing counter current extraction.
•   New additives are added to the plastic if necessary allowing it to be moulded into various
    shapes. This is done at low temperature so as not to change or damage physical
    characteristics of plastic so it can be used again.

Identification of Plastics

The identification of plastics used in consumer electronics remains the biggest single problem in
terms of finding secondary uses of collected material. The problem of identifying the composition
and grade of plastics used in consumer electronics was a significant factor in the project failing to
adequately identify a viable system for plastics recycling. Even if the regulations demanding
brominated fire retardant were set aside, the difficulty of identifying plastics would pose
insurmountable problems in the present state of technology. The composition and grade of
materials used in consumer electronics cabinets differs from suppliers and between products.
Plastics recyclers advised the project team that they could not consider taking this material for
recycling while there were no certainties associated with its composition or quality. Even where
coding exists on plastics, it will not necessarily assist in identification, as the markings may be
difficult to see or read, and such manual identification of plastics is costly for the recycler.
Currently then, in many respects we have no viable option for plastics re-use.

International collaborative projects such as the proposed PROMISE Project dealing with
embedded intelligence in materials offer the prospect of a solution. It promises to allow any sort
of plastic to be easily identified. This project is developing technology and associated information
systems to trace a product from design and production through to use, service and maintenance
and finally EoL.

The objective of PROMISE is to adapt and develop the appropriate technology and associated
information models as well as business models (standardisation) in order to enable the tracing and
updating of information about a product. This includes information that extends after product

delivery to the customer, up to its EOL point and then back to the designer and producer. Thus,
the information loop of a product system will be closed.

PROMISE is an international project that has drawn interest from a wide range of research and
manufacturing sectors. While its scope extends well beyond TVs and consumer electronics, it
does represent an R&D project that is accessible to Australia (through Swinburne University of
Technology) and which, if successful, offers an internationally-significant approach to
overcoming the information obstructions to EoL management of a wide range of manufactured
goods. The scale of the project and scope of the partners involved in its delivery is indicative of
how Australia must attempt to integrate with global initiatives in terms of product design and
manufacture in pursuit of EPR objectives such as Design for Environment.

The project team therefore recommends that:

•   The acquisition of technologies for dealing with brominated fire retardant must be assessed
•   A reliable system for identification of plastics is required
•   Suppliers need to establish a clear feedback link to their manufacturing centres to determine
    under what terms a more uniform approach to plastics in consumer electronics can be
•   Australian Suppliers/Manufacturers and Government Agencies supporting environmental
    programs should consider collaboration and support for the work proposed under the
    PROMISE project on embedded intelligence for plastics and to be carried out by Swinburne
    University of Technology
•   Short term solutions for use of plastics in energy or oil recovery should be assessed
•   Short term solutions for wood fibre disposal should be assessed

It must be recognised that there is a limited infrastructure available for coping with the collection
and recycling of consumer electronics. Until such time as further developments come on line,
there is a problem for any program. No program can afford to develop in the short term an
accumulation of waste material that cannot be applied to some industrial use. Stockpiling material
while an alternative to landfill is sought presents a huge liability and is not an option. Landfill
disposal may, therefore, need to be preserved for some materials in the short term.

6.4.    Commercial Issues

Summary of recommendations relating to commercial issues
•   Government assistance for start-up infrastructure, marketing, regional, remote areas
•   An assessment of the environmental impact of collection from remote areas (cost-benefit
    analysis) be conducted, with cost-subsidisation in regional & remote areas considered, if
•   The best management structure for a program be determined– with public and private
    interests represented.
•   The viability of a liability system be agreed

The pilot study sought to establish an indicative costing associated with the recovery and
processing of consumer electronics from transfer stations and service centres. This was seen as a
central objective of the scheme and an essential figure for the purpose of shaping any future
developments. Although utilisation of other collection systems would likely provide different
results from those quoted below, it was not possible for this project to try and encompass all
possible collection systems. Similarly, the project team do not consider it necessary to establish a
costing on the basis of every possible collection method. In planning this project, the team was
concerned to obtain data that would support the development of a recovery and processing
scheme from a lowest cost base so as to minimise start-up risk.

It was not unreasonable to assume that commencement based on collaboration with existing
infrastructure would provide the least cost option. This does not preclude the possibility of other
collection systems eventually being used. However the relationship developed with the Least
waste region and individual authorities within the region suggests that the commercial risks to a
recovery program will be minimised where a program is able to draw upon existing infrastructure
and support its development in mutually beneficial directions.

The main lessons relevant to establishing a costing for processing TV receivers can be listed as
•   Product does not lend itself to mass processing
    There is a significant cost trade-off between mass processing of product through what might
    be regarded as the crudest environmental process and a more refined processing model that
    requires the product to be broken down to a large extent.

•    There is a need for an initial capital investment to establish collection infrastructure.
     Existing infrastructure provides some benefits in terms of operating the pilot. However, even
     in the most effective of transfer stations it was clear that some infrastructure would need to be
     funded and developed in order to support any extension of the pilot. The main elements
     needed that were identified include:

     •     Custom designed stillages
     •     Portable lifting gear
     •     Work benches
     •     Handling procedures and signage

    Capital investment estimates based on the project are estimated at $4.50-$5.00 per unit, based
    on collaboration with existing infrastructure.

•    Marketing and promotion will form an integral part of any permanent program.
     The pilot scheme benefited from a level of free exposure in local press and media. A
     permanent program for consumer electronics recovery would involve ongoing expenditure

•    Press and media advertising
•    Public notices
•    Signage
•    Instructions and procedures

The pilot enjoyed a high rate of return for minimal investment in promotion and marketing.
Awareness of the scheme was not as widespread as it might have been, however. The project
team estimates that an allowance of $0.30-0.40 per unit must be accounted necessary for a
sustainable marketing program.

•    Unit processing costs are high particularly for product at the lower end of the market
     The key factors relevant to unit processing costs are:
•    Total cost per unit under the pilot project for collection from aggregation points, breakdown
     of units and disposal of materials was $21.00.

•   The cost per unit can be allocated on a percentage basis as follows: 26% labour, 26%
    materials, 29% overheads, and 20% freight.
•   Approximately 80% of the unit processing costs is variable according to factors such as:
    -   Experience
    -   Modifications and extension to plant
    -   Refinement of handling and operating procedures

The high labour and transport costs associated with processing means that there would be limited
opportunities for cost saving opportunities. The most likely areas of savings will be labour
efficiencies and possible cross-sectoral benefits arising from collaboration with other industry
sectors engaged in similar initiatives - such as with automotive/plastics.

In simple terms the pilot project results suggest that the collection and processing of televisions is
at a minimum net cost in the range of $25.80 and $26.40 per unit. Any future program would also
face operating costs that the pilot project was not exposed to. It will also have to deal with the
additional costs arising from the legacy and orphan product that is part of the installed base.
These findings are consistent with those drawn from similar initiatives overseas.

The figure determined under the project is regardless of the size or value of the unit. The project
did not find that the cost of processing a larger unit was significantly greater than that of
processing smaller units. Larger units did take additional care in handling and contributed greater
overall mass to the accumulated leaded glass and plastics. However, these measures were not
significant enough to determine the existence of any significant operational or technical factors
that could be applied to support a sliding scale for handling and processing costs. The project
team therefore conclude that there is insufficient evidence for a sliding scale and question
whether the time and effort to further refine the cost structure along these lines would return any
significant benefit.

It is clear from the pilot project that the collection and processing of consumer electronics is a net
cost under current conditions of design, manufacture, logistics and processing. The burden of cost
lies in the transport and special handling required to meet what are considered to be
environmentally adequate outcomes. The pilot project has given an estimate of the quantum
required to meet the cost of processing a unit as well as meeting costs for orphan product and the
requisite levels of administration and promotion.

Applying a levy to product in order to meet these costs is not an easy proposition. There are many
issues to consider. There are two major options for financing the removal of consumer electronics
at EoL. Both depend upon incorporating into the purchase price of units a margin that can be
dedicated to meeting the EoL costs. The first option would be to incorporate the costs as a visible
add on to the product invoices and so endeavour to ensure that the levy is kept separate from
normal calculations of profit as the product moves through the supply chain. A visible levy has
with it the added benefit of reinforcing the important underlying message that consumption
comes at a cost and is appropriately addressed in the purchase price.

A second option for a levy would be to absorb the levy into the costs of the product in much the
same way as handling charges such as insurance, transport and other overheads. This is in some
respects is a simpler method, but it is open to abuse and would inevitably lead to the levy being
compounded as product moved through the supply chain.

The quantum established for the levy under this study will not be static. A wide range of factors
will affect the actual processing cost, such as improvements in handling techniques, changes in
technology, and community goodwill towards a product recovery scheme. Consequently,
however a levy is established, it must be amenable to a reasonably adjustment.

The team therefore recommends:

•   Government assistance for start-up infrastructure, marketing, regional, remote areas
•   An assessment of the environmental impact of collection from remote areas (cost-benefit
    analysis) be conducted, with cost-subsidisation in regional & remote areas considered, if
•   The best management structure for a program be determined – with public and private
    interests represented.
•   The viability of a liability system be agreed

6.5.          Community Awareness and Action

Summary of recommendations relating to community awareness and action
•      Any cost associated with electronics recovery and processing should be visible and
•      The cost should be paid at the point purchase
•      Public awareness of the policy imperatives driving management of specialist waste streams
       needs to be undertaken as part of any formal program. At the very least individuals and
       community must be aware of cost of recycling and understand that existing services are not

Although environmental awareness has increased over recent years, the general public’s
understanding of the issues is still patchy. Further, as studies by organisations such as the
Australian Greenhouse Office have shown, even where there is a reasonable level of awareness
and understanding about environmental issues, it does not necessary translate into individual
action 1 . Issues such as the effort required to participate, the ability to participate, and the cost to
participate are crucial to the extent of individual collaboration.

Evidence from this pilot project is consistent with this. Recommendations relating to the key
observations, looking at strategies for raising awareness and action, are noted below.

From the various interaction between the general community and the project team, it is clear that
there is a low awareness of potential environmental impact of TVs & related equipment going to
landfill. On top of this, there is an evident tendency to assume that even in the event of there
being a possible risk, there are public authorities currently paid through systems of rates and taxes
to deal with these problems.

In considering similar projects undertaken overseas, Japan’s system has attracted particular
attention. In Japan, the nature of consumer and community participation in electronics recycling
is essentially voluntary. Their system depends upon the consumer to purchase a voucher to meet
the costs of recycling at the end of a products life and to remove the product to a collection point.
This model exhibits a very high level of compliance with no evident dumping problems in

    For example, “Greenhouse awareness doesn’t equal action”, p.6, Greenhouse News, vol. 5, Winter 2002.

response to paying the fee. Would such a model work in Australia? Our view is that it would not.
Elements of the Japanese scheme appear to depend on a cultural component that is difficult to
portray and perhaps not something to rely upon in an Australian context. Evidence from focus
groups and the telephone InfoLine suggest that while there might be a level of goodwill towards
dedicated electronics recovery and processing, there were definite limits to what individual might
respond to in terms of modifying their behaviour or voluntarily bearing a recovery and processing
cost. Convenience rated as an extremely important limiting factor, and, where focus groups
understood the notion of a net cost for electronics processing, there appeared to be a
psychological barrier to anything over $20 as the limit to what might be paid by choice. The
experience of transfer station operators tended to confirm that any charge at point of disposal
would be detrimental to collection.

Although it may go against what we prefer to believe about individual responses to environmental
action, the project team do not believe that a sustainable scheme could be expected to be
developed on the basis of individual responsibility and action. In line with the experience of the
pilot project, the team therefore recommend the following for consideration:

•   Any cost associated with electronics recovery and processing should be visible and
•   The cost should be paid at the point purchase
•   Public awareness of the policy imperatives driving management of specialist waste streams
    needs to be undertaken as part of any formal program. At the very least individuals and
    community must:
    •   Be aware of cost of recycling
    •   Understand that existing services are not free

The team also encourages that there be a continuation (and extension) of landfill and transfer
station practices whereby a cost penalty is applied where consumers elect not to sort waste, with
the costs minimises for those prepared to deliver sorted waste.

6.6.    Stakeholder Relations and Responsibilities

Summary of recommendations relating to stakeholder relations and responsibilities
The precise nature of the institutional arrangements necessary to support EoL management of
consumer electronics is outside the scope of this pilot project. However, the pilot team proposes
the following model based on observations gleaned through the pilot project, from similar
initiatives overseas and assessment of the community and regulatory expectations into the future:
•   Industry establishes a distinct body for the purpose of managing EoL and product stewardship
    initiatives for consumer electronics into the future
•   The industry body be incorporated under articles of association as a not-for-profit body
•   The industry body be governed by a Board with appropriate participation in its governance
    and operational committees
•   The industry body be empowered under its Articles of Association with responsibility for:
    •   Development, maintenance and adaptation of an industry-approved product stewardship
    •   Contracting with recyclers, waste processors and other service providers on behalf of its
    •   Collection and disbursement of industry-determined levies applied to new product for the
        purposes of:
            •   EoL processing of consumer electronics
            •   Administration and related charges consistent with the mission of the industry
            •   Allocation of funds to research and development projects that support the
                objectives of the industry body
            •   Education & communication functions as required

The recovery and processing of consumer electronics represented in this project is a social
exercise and not simply a case of production in reverse. It has been noted throughout that the
actions of many groups within society can help or hinder the process, regardless of actions taken
by equipment suppliers. There are a wide number of stakeholders and to a large extent the
significance of any stakeholder’s role is linked to their role in supply chain. This report has

touched upon a number of different stakeholders and commented on aspects of their involvement.
In the wider context of this project, the most interesting, crucial and controversial relationship is
likely to be that between equipment suppliers/manufacturers and Government (Federal and State).
There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most significant is that the future of any response
to EoL management for consumer electronics largely depends upon how these two sets of interest
converge or diverge.

There is no doubt that governments can, with the range of tools available to them at present,
regulate along the lines of the EU or individual States in the USA, to achieve a system under
which producers could held accountable for product EoL. However, what is less clear is the
extent to which governments have the data on complex waste streams, or comprehend industry
structures, or product characteristics and lifecycles sufficiently well to deliver through regulation
efficient systems for handling specialist complex waste streams.

The question of regulation in the context of managing a complex waste stream such as consumer
electronics is one of degree. Some regulatory role in any environmental program seems inevitable
and even desirable. The pilot project has proceeded with a high level of voluntary participation
and always with the clear understanding by participating firms that the project was part of a wider
process intended to lead to permanent national arrangements. Underlying this voluntary
participation in the project there has been a concern that an EoL solution for consumer electronics
cannot be achieved without some level of regulatory intervention. The main reasons for this are
the fact that:

•   Already a few significant suppliers in the consumer electronics market have consciously
    chosen to stand outside the project; and that
•   Changes in the market mean that the number of suppliers is expanding and their business
    operations are more diverse. Consequently, not all suppliers could be identified in the lead up
    to the project or during its course. Against these factors the industry is increasingly
    competitive with very low margins, leading to a situation where firms legitimately feel that
    free riders in any product stewardship/EPR program for consumer electronics will affect
    profitability and competitiveness.

In summary, the consensus of industry participants in the pilot is that any future arrangements
established by the industry will not be sustainable without some level of regulatory measure.

Although the pilot project could not be expected to test the precise form of this intervention, the
most common demand from suppliers and manufacturers is for what is termed a ‘safety net’
approach. Under an arrangement of this type it would be possible to develop a model which is
essentially devised and operated by industry as an ‘approved scheme’. Suppliers would join the
scheme voluntarily for the most part, but should any supplier choose to stand outside the scheme,
the safety net would ensure their participation by applying a regulatory obligation at least equal
to the obligation imposed under the ‘approved scheme’.

The pilot project group recognises that the best results for environmental management of
consumer electronics at EoL is likely to come from collaborative arrangements with a cross-
section of industries and the community. However, it is an inescapable fact that environmental
programs can be most effective when targeted at the earliest possible point in product the product
lifecycle. This naturally puts equipment manufacturers, and suppliers in Australia's case, in a
significant position in terms of implementing measures that will support EoL management. DfE,
which is the most advanced strategy that could be applied, has limited application in Australia.
That said, however, even at the other end of a product life-cycle, numerous factors point to a
significant influence on the part of suppliers in shaping environmental outcomes. These are
summarised below.

•   Notwithstanding limited opportunities for DfE, suppliers represent a powerful and
    concentrated influence over product features through integrating Australian interests into
    international product design
•   Suppliers are strategically placed to implement and manage levy schemes
•   Suppliers have the strongest motivation to ensure the proper settings for levies and fees
•   Suppliers have an interest in maintenance of corporate image with respect to environment and
•   Suppliers are driven by strong motivations in terms of efficiency and effectiveness

Taking into account the factors that have emerged during this project, and the prevailing interest
in EPR within various government institutions and NGOs, the project team has formed a view
that the future development of product stewardship/EPR programs will be best achieved if the
impetus comes from industry, with the support of appropriate regulatory measures. The team does
not say this with the purpose of excluding government or others from the process. Clearly these
stakeholders will have a great deal to bring to a social enterprise such as product stewardship. But

rather we make the point that product stewardship/EPR initiatives require the practical,
commercial and efficiency-driven discipline of industry to ensure that they are infused with the
organising principles that are so effective in the creation and distribution of consumer products.
One early initiative that might be considered by both government and industry is the development
of some form of process memorandum on EoL. This could help clarify the respective roles of
government and industry. Rather than attempting to focus on targets, which, even after this pilot,
are elusive a process memorandum could quickly settle the important objective of agreeing the
means by which the objective of collecting and processing consumer electronics can be achieved.

The precise nature of the institutional arrangements necessary to support EoL management of
consumer electronics is outside the scope of this pilot project. However, the pilot team proposes
the following model based on observations gleaned through the pilot project, from similar
initiatives overseas and assessment of the community and regulatory expectations into the future:

•   Industry establishes a distinct body for the purpose of managing EoL and product stewardship
    initiatives for consumer electronics into the future
•   The industry body be incorporated under articles of association as a not-for-profit body
•   The industry body be governed by a Board with appropriate participation in its governance
    and operational committees
•   The industry body be empowered under its Articles of Association with responsibility for:
    •   Development, maintenance and adaptation of an industry-approved product stewardship
    •   Contracting with recyclers, waste processors and other service providers on behalf of its
    •   Collection and disbursement of industry-determined levies applied to new product for the
        purposes of:
        •   EoL processing of consumer electronics
        •   Administration and related charges consistent with the mission of the industry body
        •   Allocation of funds to research and development projects that support the objectives
            of the industry body
        •   Education & communication functions as required

Alongside these we consider the following to be clear and exclusive roles for governments:

•   Address the potential weaknesses in a wholly industry-based scheme through a nationally
    uniform safety net regulation
•   Continue to support electronics recovery and recycling during the establishment phase of the
    industry body in the form of such trials and activities (such as those suggested in this report)
    that might qualify for support from environmental programs.


Appendix A: Global Activity on E-Waste

Government Activity
The extent and diversity of government activity focused on tools and strategies to minimise
environmental impacts associated with end-of-life (EoL) electronics, is astonishing. Like few
other waste streams, e-waste has captivated policy makers and regulators. From rigid
mandatory requirements in the EU and Japan through to voluntary take-back schemes in
many US States and Australia, local, state and national governments seem to be giving e-
waste unprecedented attention. Having said this, some are moving faster than others, and
although arguable, regulation or its threat appears to be a key catalyst.

A confusing factor across much government activity relates to terminology and the associated
definitions. While in Europe, terms such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) have
dominated the pros and cons of how e-waste should or could be better managed, the US has
chosen to work with more elastic terms such as Extended Product Responsibility and product
stewardship. Similarly in Australia, e-waste policies and schemes come under the banner of
product stewardship.

At a technical and theoretical level differences can be distinguished however regardless of
buzzwords, the majority of government approaches are underpinned by principles, goals and
objectives that aim to facilitate a life cycle management approach to electronic products and
the resulting e-waste. In its most simplistic form, EPR or Shared Product Responsibility is a
government policy goal, whereas product stewardship is the ‘on-ground’ commercial and
industrial response from companies and industry associations.

“Electro-scrap – consumers to sort and producers to pay for recycling”. Strong but clear
words highlighting the outcome of the European Parliament’s vote on how the e-waste stream
will be addressed. The European Parliament voted on 9 April 2002 to regulate the disposal of
e-waste through its adoption of the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(WEEE). Following a very lengthy process, the Parliament voted to accept two significant
proposed directives that stand to revolutionise the ways in which electronic products are
designed, produced and consumed. Considered as a landmark in how e-waste will be
approached by Europe, the long awaited WEEE Directives will have a profound influence on
environmental policy formulation at a global level.

Various amendments debated and adopted, address specific issues such as collection targets,
orphan products and historical waste, free-riders, financing and transition periods, phase out
periods for hazardous materials.

More detail and up to the minute status reports can be found at ‘Press Releases of European
Institutions” Alternatively contact Mary Brazier: envi-

In addition to the WEEE Directive, several individual European countries have already
initiated their own e-waste take-back schemes. Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and
Sweden are or have developed and/or imposed regulations addressing certain aspects of e-
waste, primarily driven by the need to more effectively recover and manage hazardous
substances that would otherwise find their way into ecosystems.

For a more detailed description of European regulatory approaches and the WEEE Directive
in particular, refer to the European Commission - Environment Directorate-General:


The USA presents a fascinating mix of attitudes and approaches in relation to managing e-
waste. The diversity of responses from government, industry and advocacy groups, provides a
real-world test-bed for how e-waste might be reduced. With the absence of any federal
legislation controlling e-waste, individual States are engaging with manufacturers and
industry associations and the community with a view to minimising the life-cycle
environmental impacts of electronic products. One exception at a federal level is the
classification of materials as hazardous substances and the resulting requirements on how
such materials are treated at EoL, particularly in relation to landfilling and overall waste
management. For more information see

A recent Federal development, which is likely to have a significant impact on how Cathode
Ray Tubes (CRTs) from computer monitors and televisions are managed at EoL, is the
proposed new CRT rule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to
revise existing regulations with a view to facilitating better collection, more recycling and less
disposal of CRTs and mercury-containing equipment. The overall goal is to divert mercury
and lead from landfills and incinerators. The proposed rule involves the designation of CRTs
as ‘products’ as opposed to their current status as ‘waste’. The U.S. EPA’s web site provides a
concise summary of the proposed rule:

     “Many used cathode ray tubes and items of mercury-containing equipment are currently
     classified as characteristic hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and
     Recovery Act (RCRA). They are therefore subject to the hazardous waste regulations of
     the RCRA Subtitle C unless they come from a household or a conditionally exempt small
     quantity generator. The EPA proposes and seeks comment on an exclusion from the
     definition of solid waste which would streamline RCRA management requirements for
     used CRTs and glass removed from CRTs sent for recycling. EPA is also clarifying the
     status of used CRTs sent for reuse and proposes and seeks comment on streamlining
     management requirement for used mercury-containing equipment by adding it to the
     federal list of universal waste.”1

While U.S. based activist groups (Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and Mercury Policy
Project) see the proposed CRT rule as a ‘good first step’ there seems to be considerable
scepticism about its ability to solve related problems such as exporting e-waste overseas for
recycling, or unsafe disassembly and recycling within the U.S.

The U.S. EPA’s proposed CRT rule should be monitored by any stakeholder with a direct or
indirect interest in CRTs or mercury-containing equipment.

Numerous noteworthy initiatives operating across several US States concentrate on the
recovery and recycling of cathode ray tubes found in televisions and computer monitors. This
appears to be the most advanced area of take-back and e-waste management. Often conducted
by local counties in co-operation with individual Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs),
waste management companies and industry associations, these programs have captured a not
insignificant amount of e-waste that would otherwise go to landfill, be incinerated or possibly

  Source: The U.S. EPA has prepared a fact sheet related to the proposed rule. For information and a ‘fact sheet’ about the rule,

Even though ‘voluntary’ approaches dominate in the US, the extent of State based legislative
activity seems to be growing. According to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
(NCEL), there are over twenty US States have either proposed, enacted or introduced
legislation focused on electronic products and related e-waste. The NCEL web site is a
valuable source of State-based regulations/legislation related to e-waste in the USA. For more
information see

The US EPA’s approach to supporting and promoting the environmental and business benefits
of better managing e-waste is best characterised as educational and informational. Despite the
lack of any rigid federal requirements, the US EPA has nonetheless been proactive in
highlighting the diverse range of practical, industry oriented tools, strategies and resources
that can be adopted in pursuit of producing and consuming sustainable electronic products.
Their approach is indeed underpinned by a strong anti-mandate view of the world:

       “EPA is interested in steering producers and other players in the product chain
       voluntarily toward Extended Producer Responsibility. EPA has learned that voluntary
       measures implemented by those most familiar with products and their distribution and
       use often achieve more environment improvement at less cost than mandates. Voluntary
       measures that potentially reduce the need for mandates can have environmental and
       economic benefits for both business and society as a whole.”2

In its armoury of resources to promote EPR to American companies, the US EPA reinforces
the positive role of DfE, product leasing, product stewardship and voluntary take-back
schemes, greening the supply chain, re-manufacturing and secondary materials market
development. Their WasteWise Update on Extended Product Responsibility goes to great
length to highlight case studies that describe the solutions created by individual companies
such as Xerox Corp., RBRC, Hewlett-Packard, Ford Motor Company and Dell, among many
others. The emphasis is on how such companies have integrated Design for Environment
(DfE) and take-back on a voluntary basis within the context of several stakeholders sharing
the responsibilities of minimising environmental impacts and maximising low waste products
and services:

       “Product stewardship. Life-cycle management. Design for Environment. Take-back.
       These are but a few of the strategies that fall under the broad umbrella of Extended
       Product Responsibility (EPR) – a new approach to pollution prevention embraced by the
       WasteWise partners in the 1990s. EPR is a product systems approach to resource
       conservation and waste reduction. No longer is the focus on what an individual
       manufacturer can do to reduce waste produced at its facilities. EPR expands the frame to
       encompass entire product systems and asks how all the players in the product chain–
       from those who extract and process raw materials; through the product designers,
       manufacturers, distributors, and retailers; to the consumers, users, recyclers, and
       disposers of products – can collaborate to reduce environment impacts and resource use
       associated with the product throughout its life cycle.”3

The US EPA has developed one of the most comprehensive web sites dealing with the range
of tools, methods, strategies, case studies and research studies connected with product life-
cycle management and the specifics of EPR and product stewardship. It is global in its
outlook and content and features an extensive collection of information resources. For more
information see

           Source: Extended Product Responsibility – A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Products. Washington, DC, December
    Source: WasteWise Update – Extended Product Responsibility. Washington, DC, October 1998

Another practical and constructive U.S. project is the National Electronics Product
Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI). Established to bring stakeholders together to develop
solutions to electronic products and e-waste, one of NEPSI’s main goals is:

       “… the development of a system, which includes a viable financing mechanism, to
       maximise the collection, reuse, and recycling of used electronics, while considering
       appropriate incentives to design products that facilitate source reduction, re-use and
       recycling; reduce toxicity ; and increase recycled content.”

The NEPSI dialogue is being co-ordinated by the Center for Clean Products and Clean
Technologies at the University of Tennessee – a center of excellence in research on product
stewardship and producer responsibility. NEPSI Core Group members include:

       Electronics Industries Alliance
       Product Stewardship Institute
       Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance
       Snohomish County, Washington State
       U.S. EPA
•      Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition 4

With approximately 20 million appliances disposed of annually in Japan, the need for an
environmentally improved solution became a high priority for the Japanese Government.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry together with the Ministry of Environment
(and other relevant Ministries and agencies) have been actively working on e-waste and
regulatory approaches aimed at diverting electronic products from landfill and ensuring
higher rates of recycling. The process has involved amendments to the existing Law for the
Promotion of the Effective Utilization of Resources, and requires manufacturers, retailers,
municipalities and consumers to play a more active role in the sorting, collection, processing
and recycling of e-waste. Televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners
are covered under the law however other electronic products are also included.

Stakeholder responsibilities seemed to have been specified relatively clearly with the
expectation that all parties in the chain need to improve their environmental performance. For

Manufacturers are obliged to collect, disassemble and recycle electronic products that they
have produced. They must also contribute to the provision of drop-off points and collection

Retailers are obliged to collect or accept specified electronic products under particular
circumstances, especially in relation to the transaction of consumers purchasing new products.
Retailers are also responsible for transporting recovered electronic products to the
manufacturers for disassembly and recycling.

Municipalities are required to transport the specified electronic products to the original
manufactures for subsequent disassembly and recycling, or alternatively they have the option
to process the discarded electronic products.

    Source: Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies

The general public in the form of ‘consumers’ have are also part of the process and required
to transport specified electronic products to retailers, municipalities or other designated drop-
off points and collection facilities. Consumers are required to pay a recycling fee ranging
from $20 – $40 depending on the particular product5 .

Other useful sources for information on Japan include:
Ministry of the Environment
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association
Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association

Government environment policy related to electronic products and e-waste in Australia is
limited but developing. Attention to e-waste in New Zealand is isolated to some innovative
industry driven schemes associated with the take-back of whitegoods in Auckland.

While there is no regulatory action at present in Australia, the pace and extent of voluntary
activity is certainly growing. One of the ongoing issues for industry and governments in
Australia is the often cumbersome mix of government agencies and departments that operate
across national, state and local levels. This hierarchy of bureaucracy remains a significant
barrier to any widespread action from the electronics sector as a whole. Even though State
Government agencies in the States of Victoria and New South Wales are starting to engage
with, and support industry initiatives on electronics take-back and e-waste management, it is
accurate to conclude that trade associations are the key players in Australia.

The Australian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA) together
with the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) are undertaking a range of
initiatives from research collaboration on DfE and EoL disassembly through implementation
of pilot take-back schemes for consumer electronics such as TVs and VCRs. Other groups
such as the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) and the Australian
Information Industry Association (AIIA) are also involved in corporate and association wide
projects on e-waste.

In terms of e-waste policy formulation in Australia at the national or Federal level, the most
significant activity has been the very slow development of a national product stewardship
Agreement for electrical and electronic products. Facilitated by the Federal Government
through its environment agency, Environment Australia, the process has been generally
unproductive to date.

It would appear that State Government agencies working in cooperation with key trade
associations will achieve productive outcomes ahead of any national process managed by the
Federal Government. A discussion paper on the subject can be downloaded at:

In particular, State agencies such as EcoRecycle Victoria and Resource New South Wales, are
demonstrating a pro-active position in helping trade associations address the key issues
associated with electronic products and e-waste. To date a range of initiatives have been part
funded by these two agencies covering the support of DfE and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
as well as co-funding of pilot take-back schemes for consumers electronics, computers and

    Sources: The IVF Electronics DfE Webguide and the US EPA

Other useful sources for information on Australia include:
EcoRecycle Victoria
Resource New South Wales
Environment Australia

Corporate Activity and Trade Associations
The challenge of assessing how manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers are
performing on e-waste is ever present and not straightforward. A diversity of views and
claims can be easily found depending on the information source i.e. positive news from
manufacturers of electronic products, and often ‘negative news’ from activist groups and

The number of individual electronic companies adopting a life cycle approach to their
products and services is growing significantly. The active use of EcoDesign methods and
LCA techniques is relatively mainstream among product development teams within the major
OEMs, especially IT and communications companies. Many of these are also implementing to
varying degrees, some form of take back programs to recover and recycle EoL electronic
products. Whether through genuine foresight and/or through threat of regulation, the reasons
are somewhat elastic depending on the specific product category, geographic region and
policy context.

One avenue of analysis and review is to look at what individual companies and their industry
associations as presenting about e-waste and their broader commitment to developing
environmentally improved electronic products. Often this type of information and data can be
found on company web sites, complete with annual environment reports and other program

Forward thinking R&D programs, operational performance together with new environmental
product and system features are reported with enthusiasm and passion. In some cases,
corporate communications could easily expound a situation whereby commerce and industry
is doing everything possible to minimise its negative impacts and maximise positive
environmental qualities and performance. Similarly, industry associations representing OEMs
will feature some information about how the sector as a whole is moving towards
sustainability. The need to look closely and critically at such information is essential and also
applies to how all information about e-waste is considered be it from companies,
governments, activist groups or research institutions.

European globals such as Philips, Ericsson and Nokia have represent some of the pioneers
working on how to improve the environmental performance of electronic products and better
manage e-waste. For example:

    Philips has been at the forefront in developing specific EcoDesign methodologies and
    other support tools to support DfE in electronic products. Their ‘Green Pages’ published
    in 1995, represent a landmark document focussed on the practical guidelines for
    ‘ecological design’. Philips has also been eager to demonstrate the role and relevance of
    environmental quality across all of its operations with specific in-house support manuals
    covering issues such as eco-marketing and other topics.

    Ericsson, like Nokia , is very much centred on the role of innovative communications
    products and their contribution to reducing major environmental problems. A strong
    commitment to DfE, LCA and ongoing dematerialisation, reflect a sophisticated approach
    to achieving a more sustainable future that has smart telecommunications at its core.
    Recognition that some hazardous substances must be phased out and eliminated from

    their mobile phones sooner rather than later is also on the agenda.

US based multinationals like IBM, HP, Apple, Motorola and AT+T, continue to conduct a
comprehensive program of environmental activities complete with very readable corporate
environmental reports, web based articles and features. For example:

    AT+T has for several years been breaking new ground by exploring the role of Industrial
    Ecology, LCA and other leading edge sustainability tools. AT+T have also been a
    committed supporter of education and research related to sustainability in electronics and
    communications sector. Their initiatives on telecommuting and its associated
    environmental benefits are widely acknowledged.

    HP not only promotes their environmental policy but highlight their sustainability
    strategy that explicitly includes DfE as well as the development of EoL solutions. HP is
    also committed to maximising public access to practical environmental information that is
    product based. Their ‘environmental profiles’ available via their Web site represent a
    valuable source of information for those interested in knowing more about specific
    environmental features, materials and substances found in hp products.

    IBM has a dedicated program supported by its Engineering Center for Environmentally
    Conscious Products (ECECP). The ECECP represents a central node of knowledge,
    expertise and support for personnel located across all IBM divisions from product
    development and procurement through to recycling.

Japanese multinationals such as Canon, Toshiba, Hitachi, Oki, Fujitsu, Sony, NEC, Brother,
Seiko Epson, Matsushita – Panasonic and Sharp, are also investing significant resources and
effort in maximising their environmental performance. As an indication:

    Sony has long been involved in the development of methods and technologies to make TV
    recycling easier and more economically viable. They were one of the first Japanese
    consumer electronics manufacturers to develop and commission an automated TV
    recycling. Sony continues to partner with government agencies around the world in the
    pursuit of finding solutions to e-waste, including TVs, batteries, magnetic tapes, CD-
    ROMs and the associated packaging.

    Ricoh present a particularly holistic and philosophically grounded approach to the
    production and consumption of electronic products. They talk about moving from a
    ‘passive stage’ to a ‘proactive stage, and ultimately to a ‘responsible stage’. The Ricoh
    Group Sustainability Report for 2000 presents a smart response to the avoidance of e-
    waste through the implementation of more modular design features that can facilitate
    higher levels of resource conservation. Ricoh highlight their plans for product life
    extension underpinned by life cycle thinking as a way of stimulating new business

While all these companies present an informative and positive picture of their environmental
performance and the challenges ahead, it is often difficult to fully know and understand the
degree of ‘real world’ commitment that takes place across all of their products and operations.
Even more pertinent is the gap between environmental reporting prepared for global
consumption versus, for example, the extent and availability of e-waste take-back programs
offered in specific countries. The role of rigorous third party assessments including financial
market metrics such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index will increasingly play a vital role
in helping all stakeholders better understand how the electronics industry is performing not
just environmentally, but from a sustainability point of view.

Other useful sources on corporate activities include:

One of the strongest voices on the roles and responsibilities of industry emanates from
industry associations directly representing manufacturers, suppliers and retailers of electronic
products. Key associations across Europe, North America and Australasia are vigorous in
their efforts to effectively represent their members while also ensuring an acceptable level of
activities as they relate to electronic products and e-waste.

The collective activities and considerable influence (globally) of the Electronics Industries
Alliance in the USA, the European Association of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers and
Japan’s Association for Electric Home Appliances, should not be underestimated. Such
associations have developed a comprehensive armoury of initiatives that cover political
lobbying and input to government policy formulation on the direction of producer
responsibility regulations, through to specific technical programs and information resourcing
of their member companies. Pilot take-back projects, DfE guidelines and case studies, as well
as collaborative R&D on electronic products and e-waste, result in a significant and growing
level of knowledge and behaviour change.

For some such as the Electronics Industry Alliance, considerable financial investment has
been made by member companies to keep abreast of regulatory developments at a global
scale, thus serving product development and EoL management objectives. For others such as
the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling in the UK, much effort has been
placed on promoting the importance of DfE as a way of maximising environmental
performance and streamlining the disassembly and recycling process. ICER’s DfE guidelines
are seen as a key tool in support of more effective EoL management for e-waste.

Waste Management Industry
Another key stakeholder in the e-waste challenge is the waste management industry. Their
technical, logistical and market development capabilities are pivotal in driving down the
overall cost of recovering, reusing and/or recycling EoL electronic products.

Widely acknowledged as one of the persistent cost barriers in better managing electronic
waste, innovation in materials handling and processing combined with efficient transportation
has the potential to significantly add vale to e-waste.

Highly valuable materials such as gold, silver, platinum and copper are wasted when certain
types of e-waste is landfilled. Although larger quantities of these precious metals are to be
found in older Electrical and Electronic Products (EEPs), certain electronic and electrical
components in current technology contain materials worthy of recovery. The great majority of
specialist recycling operations are driven by the presence of these metals and their market
value. Nonetheless, studies by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency acknowledge
that design trends may change the extent to which precious metals are a critical catalyst for
recovering and recycling EEPs:

       ‘Electronic products contain small amounts of precious metals such as gold and silver.
       Most is present in circuit boards. Because of the value of these materials there is a market
       for them and recycling is a viable proposition. Less gold and silver is used in more
       modern product, however, and there is a risk that profitability will decline, which may
       result in a lower collection and recycling ratio. 6 ’

Relying on the presence of precious metals to motivate business to recover and recycle EoL
electronic products is not a realistic strategy. With changes in design methods, trends in
technology and the emergence of new, smart materials, extracting precious metals is unlikely
to be the key commercial motivation in this process. However, there is much to be learned
from the methods and technologies of precious metals recyclers as a step toward developing
similar systems and processes for recycling other materials and components in EEPs.

The lack of a vibrant market for the full range of recovered materials to be found in e-waste
will remain an ongoing barrier to widespread recovery and recycling of e-waste. This is
especially relevant in those markets or jurisdictions where voluntary or self-regulated
approaches to e-waste are dominant. It can be argued, as do many policy-makers and
academics, that without mandated targets or requirements for producers to take life-cycle
responsibility for their electronic products, the incentives for developing new products and
EoL processes that are technically and commercially viable, is severely diminished if not
totally absent.

Specialist waste management companies dealing with e-waste are also relatively nascent and
developing compared to other waste streams that dominate the business activities of waste
management companies. While there are specialist companies that process e-waste in parts of
Europe, North America, Japan and Australia, the knowledge, technology, and logistics
expertise is far from mature and sophisticated. In many cases, the waste management industry
is overly represented by transport and haulage companies that have had to diversify for
reasons of survival rather than any highly developed capabilities or IP associated with the
collection, processing and value-adding of e-waste. The time will come however, when we
see significant growth in the availability and services offered by e-waste recyclers, especially
given the rate at which most OECD countries are developing and implementing producer
responsibility type regulations directly targeting electronic products.

The establishment of peak bodies focussed on e-waste recycling will also help develop the
industry and its capacity to meet current and future challenges. The key will be to ensure that
effective collaboration takes place between all players in the supply chain as well as
government, consumers and e-waste recyclers. So many of the issues are interrelated along
the product life-cycle that working in isolation will only serve to perpetuate barriers and
outdated practices. The role of governments on this objective will be critical, as will the
openness and willingness of electronics OEMs to work closely with e-waste recyclers.

Useful sources on recyclers include:
International Association of Electronics Recyclers
Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling
Electronics Recycling Network
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

    Source: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Report 4406, p. 54.

Research Institutions and Universities
Universities and other research institutions represent a very important group in the challenge
to design greener electronic products and develop viable EoL solutions for E-Waste. A review
of research and development (R&D) taking place within research institutions and universities,
and the extent to which such R&D is undertaken on a collaborative basis with producers of
electronic products and recyclers of e-waste, highlights an enormous amount of activity.

The collective work of universities across North America, Europe, South East Asia and
Australia is tackling the full spectrum of environmental issues related to e-waste. From
detailed engineering design issues and automated disassembly processes, through to bigger
picture policy formulation and life-cycle costing of take-back schemes, universities are
working independently and in cooperation with industry to develop solutions aimed at making
the electronics sector more sustainable and life-cycle oriented.

There are too many universities and research group s to mention here, however a there are a
few worth mentioning given their track record and continuing R&D work on:

    DfE and Sustainable Product Development
    LCA and Life Cycle Costing
    Industrial Ecology and dematerialisation
    Producer responsibility and product stewardship
    Supply chain management
    Environmental marketing
    EoL recovery and logistics
    EoL reuse, re-manufacturing, recycling and disposal
    Applications for secondary materials recovered from e-waste
    and many more topics

Noteworthy institutions include:

    Centre for Sustainable Design, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Surrey,
    Brunel University (UK)
    Carnegie Mellon University, Technology, Business and Environment Program at MIT,
    Tellus Institute, Stanford University, INFORM (USA)
    International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics, Chalmers University
    Design for Sustainability Program at TU Delft, University of Twente, Lieden University
    Centre for Design at RMIT University, EcoDesign Foundation, UNSW (Australia)
    University of Windsor (Canada)
    Japanese Environmental Management Association for Industry
•   Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association

In many cases these institutions work intimately with industry, both at the individual company
level, and through consortia and trade associations. This collaborative approach helps to
secure the necessary funding but more importantly conduct R&D that has real world
relevance and application. Having said this, some of the more innovative and future oriented
research related to sustainable electronics and the significant reduction of e-waste comes from
universities working more independently of immediate industry needs and funding e.g. Italy’s
Domus Academy, Sweden’s International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics,
INFORM (USA), to mention a few.

There is little doubt that universities will continue to play a vital role in helping better identify
the problems associated with e-waste, as well as develop environmentally affirmative
solutions that are being demanded by government, industry and the community.

Useful sources include:
IVF Electronics Design for Environment Web Guide
Centre for Sustainable Design
EPR at the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics

Activist and Advocacy Groups
Another framework for review is to consider what the activist and advocacy organisations are
saying about e-waste and the broader debate on electronics and the environment. These types
of groups can sometimes provide a blunt and emotive perspective, however the content is
often informative and reflects the goals and desires of the groups’ fundamental philosophy
and approach to sustainability and environmental protection. The quantity of information and
penetration of such groups and their message is not to be under-estimated. It provides a not
insignificant beacon in relation to where corporate environmental performance on e-waste is
likely to arrive in the medium term.

By far the most outspoken of all key stakeholders, are those groups and non government
organisations (NGOs) eager to see producers of electronic products take on a much stronger
and active role in effectively managing the life cycle of electronic products – from cradle to
grave. Most of these groups are strong advocates of policy principles such as EPR and
Sustainable Product Development. The US based Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) is a
major advocate of EPR, as is INFORM, while the European Environmental Bureau plays an
active role relevant to the EU. Other NGOs with strong views on e-waste include:

    GrassRoots Recycling Network
    Mercury Policy Project
    Toxics Link India
    Greenpeace China
    SCOPE (Pakistan)

A sample of views, positions, quotes and demands provides a clear sense of where such
groups are coming from:

        “Companies in Europe and Asia are detoxifying their products and taking them
        back,” said Michael bender of the Mercury Policy Project. “It’s time U.S. companies
        to take-back products and design them to be cleaner and safer, more durable and
        easier to disassemble, reuse and recycle.”

        “E-waste is one of the fastest growing and most toxic waste streams – threatening
        human health and the environment.” said Ted Smith, Executive Director of the
        Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and Coordinator of the national Computer TakeBack

            “Consumers in the U.S. are receiving second-class treatment from high-tech
            companies that think they’re first-class global companies,” said David Wood of the
            GrassRoots Recycling Network.7 .

While these NGOs are campaigning on an issue of genuine public interest, at a mainstream
community level, the consumption rate of electronic products tends to suggest a blind
celebration of IT and communications technologies with little regard for environmental or
social issues at the time of purchase. The gap between the power and intensity of the NGOs is
yet to be matched by widespread public outrage about e-waste, especially among OECD

Consumers have made some noise about electronic scrap but mostly in relation to the impacts
associated with exporting such waste to developing and/or transitional economies such as
China and the Philippines. Despite the ever-reducing innovation cycle and the pressures due
to software advances, consumers and other end users are still focussed on hard drive size,
memory cache and monitor size as opposed to Design for Recycling, hazardous substances
and product take-back.

As more research, data and knowledge accumulates on the impact of electronic products and
E-Waste on human health and ecological systems, the voice and influence of NGOs such as
the SVTC and the Basel Action Network, will become stronger and harder to moderate. This
will especially be the case if government policy makers and producers of electronic products
and e-waste fail to meet the expectations of NGOs.

Other useful sources on activist and advocacy groups include:
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Basel Action Network

    Source: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition Media Center, Release 27/11/01

Appendix B: TV project communications plan
Note: dates and status details have been removed.
Action                                                                   Target              Responsibility         Budget              Completion   Status
                                                                         audience                                                       date
1.  Web site launched. To include details of:                            All and sundry      RMIT, with input       $2000
•   Background and details of scheme                                                         from
•   Project partners – incl. links to websites                                               AEEMA/CESA and
•   Contact details for AEEMA/CESA, RMIT, MRI for further                                    other parties as
    information                                                                              appropriate
2. Produce one-pager with:                                               Service centres     AEEMA/CESA             $500
•   Outline of project (why required, 6-month trial, pick-up
•   Project partners (inc. logos)
•   Information on how to participate (stress that it’s free)
Send with cover letter to all service centres in Least waste region
3. Contact retailers to invite their participation as information-       Those in market     AEEMA/CESA             $150 cover letter
    providers to their customers in market for new TV. Initial           for new TV                                 (brochure, see
    information similar to above, with brochures to be provided to                                                  below)
    participating retailers to provide to their customers (see below).
4. Signage (directions at transfer stations)                             Public at           Least waste            $1000
                                                                         transfer stations
5. Brochures                                                             General public      Least waste/ Eco       $2500
Explore cost options for brochure, and produce brochure. To include      – through Least     Recycle (with input/
similar information to above, but also with drop-off/collection          waste member        guidance from all)
details, and more eye-catching.                                          councils            AEEMA to explore
Brochure to be available electronically on websites (official project                        option of help from
website, AEEMA website, plus others, as appropriate), plus hard                              Panasonic
copy brochures to:
a) 200 brochures per council x 5 councils = 1000
b) service centres                                                       People who          AEEMA/CESA
                                                                         receive a quote
                                                                         for repair and
                                                                         decide not to

c) retailers (with poster – see below)                               Those in market
                                                                     for new TV
d) transfer stations (with poster)                                   Those disposing
Also to include request that transfer station staff inquire where    of TVs
person heard about trial
6. Posters                                                           Those in market   Least waste/ Eco
Explore cost options for posters, and produce poster. To include     for new TV        Recycle (with input/
similar information                                                                    guidance from all)
Copies to:                                                                             AEEMA to explore
a) Retailers (with poster)                                                             option of help from
b) libraries, schools, community centres                             General public    TBA
c) transfer stations (with brochures available)                      Those disposing   Least waste
                                                                     of TVs
d) real estate agents (pdf brochures and poster)                     Those moving      Least waste/ Eco
                                                                     home (to catch
                                                                     the ‘clean-up’)   Recycle (with
                                                                                       input/ guidance
                                                                                       from all)
7.  Other potential media opportunities                              Landfill          Least waste to
a)  Knox landfill closure – explore opportunity of ‘piggy-backing’   stakeholders      advise on action
    on media coverage generated by its closure                                         required
b) council newsletter                                                Community         EcoRecycle/
c) local newspapers                                                  Community         EcoRecycle/            Free coverage
                                                                                       AEEMA                  desirable. $500 if
d) community/commercial radio                                        Community         TBA                    $0

Appendix C: Media coverage

The following media coverage was recorded for the TV pilot project scheme.

Least waste has a regular one hour segment on the Community Radio Station, Eastern FM (98.1), on the
third Wednesday of each month. This is in the form of a series of interviews which may be on a single
topic or a variety of topics. These interviews take place between musical interludes. The segment is used to
provide waste management, environmental and litter management information to the community.

On Wednesday 16 January 2002 part of the interview related to the TV Recycling Pilot Project. Joanne
Sinclair, Regional Education Officer, dealt with information on the project which is set out in the brochure.
Reference was made to the participating Drop-off Centres where TVs could be delivered to be recycled.
The availability of the brochure at Council Offices and information on the project web site were also
referenced. Timing of this interview in the middle part of the original project period was seen as most

Eastern FM targets the municipalities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges –
which covers the entire Eastern Region of Melbourne, where the Pilot Project was focussed. The signal
from the station however exceeds these boundaries, with programs having been documented as being
received from as far away as Tullamarine and the Mornington Peninsula. This means the potential audience
is well beyond the over 650,000 people in the Eastern Region.

Sample media releases
The following media releases were prepared specifically for the TV pilot project:
•  August 2001: Pilot TV take-back scheme launched
•  December 2001: Pilot TV take-back scheme away and running

    MEDIA RELEASE                                                        #23/01


    Melbourne, 2 August, 2001 -- Leading electronics suppliers have combined to
    develop a program for end-of-life recovery and processing of televisions, VCRs
    and similar equipment. The project will be carried out in collaboration with
    recycling company MRI Australia, RMIT University, Least waste and
    EcoRecycle Victoria.

    Every year, large numbers of discarded electrical and electronic products enter
    the waste stream. There are significant opportunities for much of the metal,
    plastics, glass and other materials to be recovered and re-used.

    The pilot is being funded by industry and EcoRecycle Victoria to collect 5000
    televisions and VCRs in a 10-week period. Barriers to collection, as well as
    expected costs for collection and disassembly operations will be studied. The
    results of the project will be used to develop the recommendations for a
    scheme that could be applied throughout Victoria and nationally. Technology
    used in the pilot has been developed by MRI in Australia to suit Australian
    conditions of a small population base spread over a geographically wide area.

    The launch of the pilot program follows a study tour of major recycling
    facilities in Japan, supported by Sharp Corporation and Sony. Mr Robert
    Wooley, Manager, Engineering and Approvals, Sharp Corporation and
    Chairman of the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA),
    highlighted the importance of understanding international initiatives as a
    prelude to programs in Australia. "While the tour offered some useful insights,
    it is critical to develop programs that were scaled to Australia's needs and
    constraints," he said.

    The project is one of a number of initiatives of the Australian Electrical and
    Electronic Manufacturers' Association (AEEMA) and its partner forum, the
    Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) towards the development
    of a product stewardship strategy for electrical and electronic products

    Mr Ross Henderson, Director/General Manager, Panasonic's TV
    manufacturing plant in Penrith NSW, said that the collection project should be
    seen as one of several important environmental initiatives that
    industry would address in coming years. "Panasonic has already taken steps to
    introduce a lead-free solder process as part of its corporate obligations," he


    EcoRecycle Victoria is the state government agency responsible for minimising
    the creation of waste and promoting the sustainable use of resources.
    EcoRecycle endorses the principle of product stewardship and is actively
    working with industry to recover resources which would otherwise be sent to
    landfill. Ian Coles, Chief Executive Officer, EcoRecycle, congratulated the
    electrical and electronics industries on their proactive approach.

    Electronics suppliers taking part in the scheme are Hitachi, LG
    Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC Australia, Panasonic, Philips,
    Samsung Electronics, Sanyo, Sharp and Sony.


    For further information contact:

    Mr James Galloway, CESA/AEEMA: tel (02) 6247 4655, 0412 272 659 or e-

    Mr Will le Messurier, MRI Australia: tel (03) 9305 4611 or e-mail

    Visit AEEMA's web site at:


    The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (AEEMA)
    is a progressive, rapidly growing and influential industry association
    representing approximately 400 members across a diverse range of industries
    including the ICT sector, electrical capital equipment, energy systems, electrical
    and electronic consumer goods, defence equipment and e-commerce

    AEEMA and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) are
    partner associations. CESA provides a forum for the Australian consumer
    electronic suppliers industry to focus specifically on those factors crucial to the
    domestic and international growth of the Australian consumer electronic
    supplier industry.

    MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                   #33/01


Melbourne, December 2001 – A program for the end-of-life recovery and processing of televisions and
VCRs, under trial in Melbourne’s Eastern Region, is proving to be a resounding success.

The project aims to reduce the large numbers of discarded electrical and electronic products entering the
waste stream, and, as far as possible, to recover and find other uses for the metal, plastics, glass and other
components of the equipment.

The pilot scheme covers the Eastern Region of Melbourne – the municipalities of Knox, Manningham,
Maroondah, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges – an area chosen because of the community’s focus on waste
reduction. Residents of these municipalities are invited to dispose of their old TVs and videos in an
environmentally-friendly manner by taking them to their nearest council or private Recycling and Transfer
Centre (details attached). These centres will not charge for taking TVs or VCRs. Similar equipment, such as
computers, play stations and audio visual equipment can also be taken, but a small charge will apply.

The response to the pilot project has already been extremely positive. In October alone, approximately
300 televisions were collected from TV repair centres and rental outlets in the pilot region. Collection
from these sources will continue as part of the pilot.

The trial is an Australian first and involves leading electronics suppliers, Australian recycling company
MRI Australia, RMIT University, Regional Waste Management Group Least waste and EcoRecycle
Victoria. Funded by industry and EcoRecycle Victoria, with in-kind support from Least waste, its member
councils and a number of industry players, the project is in operation until the end of March 2002.

“We’re now trying to increase the general public’s awareness of the scheme,” said Robert Wooley,
Manager, Engineering and Approvals, Sharp Corporation and Chairman of the Consumer Electronics
Suppliers Association (CESA). “Selected Myer stores in the pilot region have been keen to help, and are
providing information brochures to their customers looking to buy new TVs or videos. We’re hoping
other retailers and community groups will follow suit.”

In addition to addressing the challenges of disassembling the TVs and VCRs and finding uses for all the
components (plastics from the TV cabinets, and leaded glass are proving exceptionally difficult), the
project will examine the costs involved in collection and recycling, and identify barriers to collection.
“Collecting the TVs and arranging their transport to our factory is a big challenge,” said Will Le Messurier,
Managing Director, MRI. “TVs are bulky and difficult to store and transport intact. Logistical costs have
already been identified as being considerable, even in the suburbs of Melbourne.”

The project is one of a number of initiatives of the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’
Association (AEEMA) and its partner forum, CESA, that focus on the development of a product
stewardship strategy for electrical and electronic products.

Electronics suppliers taking part in the scheme are Hitachi, LG Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC
Australia, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo, Sharp and Sony.


Additional information is attached, or contact:

Mrs Peppi Wilson or Mr James Galloway, AEEMA/ CESA: tel (02) 6247 4655, or e-mail, or

Mr Will le Messurier, MRI Australia: tel (03) 9305 4611 or e-mail

Interviews and site visits can also be arranged. Please contact Graeme Stewart, Executive Officer, Least waste:
tel (03) 9874 4633, or email

See: for more information

Visit AEEMA's web site at:

The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (AEEMA) is a progressive, rapidly growing and
influential industry association representing approximately 400 members across a diverse range of industries
including the ICT sector, electrical capital equipment, energy systems, electrical and electronic consumer goods,
defence equipment and e-commerce infrastructure.

AEEMA and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) are partner associations. CESA provides a
forum for the Australian consumer electronic suppliers industry to focus specifically on those factors crucial to the
domestic and international growth of the Australian consumer electronic supplier industry.


 Coldstream Recovery & Waste Transfer Station       Lysterfield Transfer Station
 Open: Mon-Sun 8:30am-4pm                           Open: 7 days, 8am-4pm
 Leonard Rd, Coldstream                             Wellington Rd, Lysterfield
 Ph: 9739 1227                                      Ph: 9753 5211
 Melway Ref: 281 E11                                Melway Ref: 83 H8

 Eastern Recycling & Transfer Station               Montrose Transfer Station and Recovery
 Open: Mon-Sat 7am-5pm                              Centre
 Sun 9am-4pm                                        Open: Mon-Fri 7am-4.30pm
 Heatherdale Rd, Ringwood                           Sat-Sun 9am-4pm
 Ph: 9870 3855                                      69-71 Canterbury Rd, Montrose
 Melway Ref: 49 E11                                 Ph: 9728 1469
                                                    Melway Ref: 51 K8
 Healesville Recovery & Waste Transfer Station
 Open: Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat, Sun 8.30am-4pm          Wesburn Recovery & Waste Transfer Station
 Mt Riddell Rd, Healesville                         Station
 Ph: 5962 3973                                      Open: Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun 8.30am-4pm
 Melway Ref: 278 K2                                 Old Warburton Rd, Wesburn
                                                    Ph: 5967 1732
 Knox Recovery Centre                               Melway Ref: 289 C10
 Open: 7 days, 8am-4pm
 Cathies Lane, Wantirna South                       Whitehorse Transfer Station & Recycling
 Ph: 9801 1288                                      Centre
 Melway Ref: 72 D3                                  Open: Mon-Fri 6.30am-4pm
                                                    Sat, Sun 6.30am-4pm
                                                    631 Burwood Hwy, Vermont
                                                    Ph: 9801 4831
                                                    Melway Ref: 63 A9

 FreeCall InfoLine: 1800 35 32 33 (Victoria only)


    Product Stewardship is an environmental approach in which all aspects of a product’s life-cycle are subject to
    environmental management and stakeholder responsibility. The goal is to ensure an environmentally and
    financially sustainable industry.

    The electrical and electronic industries are among the fastest growing industries in the world, driven by
    continuous technological innovation and rapid market penetration of new products. This has led to an increase
    in the environmental impact of electrical and electronic product.

    International response to managing the issue has been varied. Some overseas governments have adopted a
    regulatory approach. Others are working with industry to implement initiatives that are of a more voluntary
    nature. A number of electrical and electronic manufacturers have also implemented company programs to
    address environmental issues.

    Recognising the need to address the environmental impacts of electrical and electronic equipment in Australia,
    the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA), its partner forum, the Consumer
    Electronics Suppliers’ Association (CESA), the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the
    Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) approached the Australian and New Zealand
    Conservation Council (ANZECC), proposing the development of a nationally consistent, industry-driven
    product stewardship strategy.

    The TV Recycling Pilot Project is one of a number of initiatives of AEEMA and its partner forum, CESA, that
    focus on the development of a product stewardship strategy for electrical and electronic products.

    The launch of the pilot program followed a study tour of major recycling facilities in Japan, supported by Sharp
    Corporation and Sony. Investigating international initiatives such as those in Japan offered the project team
    some useful insights into developing a scheme for Australia. Cultural and geographical differences prevent such
    schemes being transferred to Australia in their entirety, however. It is critical to develop programs that are
    scaled to Australia's needs and constraints.

    Project Partners
    A number of electronics companies are funding this project, with many also donating their valuable time and
    expertise. Project partners are: Hitachi, LG Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC Australia, Panasonic, Philips,
    Samsung Electronics, Sanyo, Sharp and Sony.

    EcoRecycle Victoria is also providing funding, and is actively involved in the project. EcoRecycle Victoria is
    the state government agency responsible for minimising the creation of waste and promoting the sustainable use
    of resources, and better managing the disposal of material which cannot be diverted from the waste stream for
    productive use. EcoRecycle endorses the principle of product stewardship and is actively working with industry
    to recover resources which would otherwise be sent to landfill.

     In-kind contributors are:
•   Least waste , the Regional Waste Management Group responsible for the Eastern Region on Melbourne, and its
    member Councils (Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges;
•   MRI Australia, a Melbourne-based recycling company with expertise in the disassembly and recycling of
    electronic equipment;
•   The Centre for Design at RMIT University, a national centre undertaking research on Product Stewardship
    and Sustainable Product Design;
•   The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA), and its partner forum, the
    Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA).

The following press coverage was recorded for the project.

National Press
What’s new in waste management, Dec/Jan 2001-2002, vol. 3, no.4
E-Scrap News, February 2002 (US)
Australian Electronics Engineering, Sept 2001
The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Feb 2002
Environment Business, p21, February 2002

Local Press
•   Maroondah Focus, p6, February 2002
•   Manningham Leader, 19 December 2001
•   Knox Journal, p9, 19 December 2001
•   Knox Leader, p18, 5 February 2002

Electronic media/ Internet
•   Industry Search, 3 Aug 2001 (
•   Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Centre (US) –
•   Zdnet, 8 April 2002 (TV pilot referenced),2000025001,20264463,00.htm

 Appendix D: Notice to TS staff

                      PILOT TV RECYCLING
 Information for Staff Of Participating Drop Off Centres

You are now a proud participant in the PILOT TV RECYCLING PROGRAM, which is
using facilities such as yours. The trial is being conducted by a team, which comprises
leading electronics companies, EcoRecycle Victoria, Least waste, RMIT University and

The program is a voluntary initiative aimed to trial the diversion of televisions and brown
goods to ensure they do not end up in landfill, but rather the majority of components are

The purpose of the trial is to identify the best ways of diverting and collecting redundant
TVs so they don’t enter the waste stream. After the conclusion of the trial the experiences
and data obtained will be used to prepare a report. It is hoped that success will be
demonstrated and this will lead to the roll out of a national collection program which will
save resources.

MRI will collect product received at drop off sites in the Eastern Region. Disassembly of
product and recycling of components will be undertaken by MRI, who specialise in such


This trial is focussed on all domestic and commercial Television sets and Video recorders
and there will be no charge for MRI receiving these items. Accordingly there will be no
charge to people delivering these products to your Facility. Stereo systems and computer
game consoles will also be received but MRI will need to charge $2.00 per item in
relation to these items, therefore there would be expected to be a charge to people
delivering them to your Facility.


The trial will start in early November 2001 and run to 31 March 2002

 Participating Drop Off Centres

Participating Drop Off Centres in the trial include Transfer Stations/Recovery Centres
(Council and Private), TV repairers and retailers in the Eastern Region of Melbourne
(municipalities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges), which
is the area for which Least waste has responsibility.

The following information is provided so that participants at Drop Off centres are aware of
their role in this trial and what actions are necessary.

 Fax back forms

     It is important that any problems or issues you encounter whilst
     participating in the trial are communicated so that the issues that confront
     the participants can be understood and any relevant action initiated.
   • Attached are a quantity of forms to assist you to communicate any problems or
     difficulties encountered in the process or to make any suggestions you may have for
     a better service for you and members of the public.
   • Please complete a form when an issue arises and fax it to MRI on 03 9305 4491 (as
     detailed on the form). Alternatively you can send it via email to
     Either of these approaches will enable any necessary action to be taken promptly.

   • An area is to be set aside at each participating site for storage of product. The area
     does not have to be protected from weather. MRI will deliver a bin/crate in which
     product is to be stacked.
   • Site staff are asked to direct members of public with TV drop offs to this area. It is
     envisaged only short term storage of TVs will be necessary on site (see “Collection”
   • Signage will be supplied to each centre for easy identification of the storage area as
     being for TV recycling.

 Marking of equipment
    • Bar coded stickers for attaching to the product as it is received are attached.
      This bar code will identify the location of each centre and be used to determine
      volume of product collected at each site. This data will be enable the most
      effective collection points to be identified.
    • These stickers need to be attached to product as it arrives.
    • If you run out of stickers please call MRI (1800 249 113) for more to be

 Product Condition
   • TVs should be intact (not shredded or compacted) and, where possible, kept
     complete to enable easier processing by MRI
   • Incomplete or cannibalised equipment is however acceptable
 Promotion to public
   • Each participating site will be supplied with a quantity of brochures describing the
     service. These are for distribution to any interested party. The trial will also be the
     subject of separate promotion by the project team.
 Who can drop off Product?
   • The service to designed to be offered to:
      • Members of the public.
      • Kerbside hard waste collectors.
      • Commercial operators, including Local repairers, charities and retailers who
         have traded in or have redundant stock available they wish to dispose of

 Collection of Product from Your Site
   When the MRI Bin/crate at your site is nearly full, call MRI on 1800 249 113 for
   • MRI will arrange for collection of stored product within 72 hours.
   • If you require a larger or smaller bin/crate for storage of product please call MRI to
      discuss the issues
   • MRI trucks are equipped with a crane and a lifting tailgate for safe loading of the

 Health and safety issues
   • An intact TV will not present a health problem to users in the home or handlers in
     the disposal chain. Disassembly can expose toxic components, which is why this
     task is to be undertaken by specialists at MRI.
   • Under no circumstances are members of the public or commercial parties permitted
     to remove product for reuse or parts recovery once received, affixed with a bar code
     and stored in the MRI bin/crate.
   • TVs may be bulky and heavy so please take care in their handling. Where possible
     mechanical assistance should be used.
Please contact MRI on 1800 249 113, or for more information.
Thank you for your support.

                                                           MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd
                                                                     ACN 007 391 335 ABN 76 007 391 335

                                          All Correspondence to: 20 -24 Dennis Street Campbellfield VIC 3061
                                                   Telephone (03) 9305 4611 Facsimile (03) 9305 4491
                                          International    Tel      61 3 9305 4611 Fax        61 3 9305 4491
TO:                        Will Le Messurier
COMPANY                    MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd
FACSIMILE NUMBER:          03 9305 4491
FROM:        Name
             Contact Telephone
Number of Page             1      Including cover sheet
SUBJECT:                   TV Pilot

(1)       Date of Report
(2)       DESCRIPTION OF Problems/ Suggestion

(3)SUGGESTED ACTION                        Advise    MRI


(4)       MRI FOLLOW UP                                                   Implementation Date:

                                                                          Trial Period from               to

Action Details

          Close Out Approved:                                                                             Date:


The information in this facsimile is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, copying or use of
the information is prohibited.

Appendix E – InfoLine Results

1. Where or how did you hear about the pilot TV recycling project
100% newspaper article in local paper (Maroondah and Manningham Leader)

2. Is the TV you are planning to dispose of working/not working?
Response                                      Number            Proportion
Working                                         18                 41%
Not working                                     20                 45%
Don’t know                                      2                  5%
Mixture (some working, some not)                2                  5%
VCR                                             2                  5%

3. What other options have you considered for disposal?
Response                             Number        Proportion
Council hard waste collection          26             59%
Landfill                               9              20%
Give away                              4               9%
Recycle                                1               2%
Don’t know                             4               9%

4. a) What do you believe currently happens to the majority of TVs which are disposed of?
Response                             Number        Proportion
Landfill                               22             50%
Don’t know                             14             32%
Stripped for parts                     4               9%
Recycled                               3               7%
Reuse                                  1               2%

    b) Do you think this causes any environmental damage? (please explain)
Response                           Number          Proportion
Yes                                    25             57%
Don’t know                             8              18%
No                                     6              14%
Probably                               3               7%
Depends                                1               2%
No response                            1               2%

    Some comments for those who believed it causes environmental damage
    Radioactive leakage – 3 respondents
    Toxic gases – 4
    Hazardous chemicals - 1
    Toxic materials - 1
    Lead - 2

c) Did you know that there is a net cost associated with recycling a TV – ie it costs more to
recycle a TV than any money made from re-using parts? (yes/no – and take note of any

Response                            Number         Proportion
No, I didn’t know                       22            50%
Yes                                     18            41%
Unsure                                  3              7%
No response                             1              2%

Comment from one caller
“Yes, but it’s worth the effort!”

5. Would you be available for a follow-up interview or participation in a small focus group
   about TV recycling and consumer attitudes? (if no, suggest we collect their postcode

Response                            Number       Proportion
Yes                                     29            65%
No                                      15            34%

6. Will you be dropping off your TV for recycling? (yes/no. if no, why not?)

Response                              Number       Proportion
Yes                                     34            77%
No                                      8             18%
No response                             2              5%

Some reasons why not
    -   elderly person, would need a friend to drop off
    -   too far away (lives in Doncaster)
    -   has a VCR and cassette recorder

Appendix F: TV Pilot Focus Group

Purpose                  To explore consumer attitudes, feelings, beliefs etc in
                         relation to TV recycling
                         To gain feedback on possible TV collection models

Date                     4 June 2002

Time                     6.00 – 7.30pm

Venue                    Least Waste, 333 Mitcham Rd, Mitcham, Ph 9874 4633

Number of participants   Aim for 10

Source of participants   Recruitment agency

Facilitator              Helen Lewis

Support facilitator      John Gertsakis

Focus Group Discussion

   •   Thank you for your time in coming to this discussion
   •   Estimated to take 1 ½ hours
   •   The format will be informal – I will try to keep the discussion on track but feel free to have
       your say at any time
   •   We are taping the discussion for our own records but your names will remain confidential
   •   Toilets
   •   Refreshments

Introduction to research team
   •   Centre for Design at RMIT
   •   EcoRecycle Victoria
   •   Least Waste
   •   Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association

Background on the TV pilot
   •   Over the past 12 months we have been running a trial recycling program for TVs and VCRs
   •   We are now at the stage of trying to work out the best way to establish a permanent
       recycling program

Purpose of the discussion
   •   To get some feedback from you, as representatives of the general community, on recycling
       in general and TV recycling in particular.

   Perhaps we can start by discussing recycling in general.
   • Do you currently recycle at home?
   • What do you recycle?
   • Why do you recycle?
   • Do you ever take rubbish to a Transfer Station or landfill?
   • Do you put rubbish out for the hard rubbish collections run by the Council?
   • What do you currently do with old household appliances that you no longer want to keep?

   I would now like to move on to discuss TV recycling in particular.
   • Have you ever disposed on a TV while it was still working?
   • Did you sell this TV or pass it on to family or friends?
   • What do you believe happens to the majority of TVs that are disposed of?
   • Do you think this causes environmental damage?
   • Have you disposed of an old TV that wasn’t working recently?
   • What was wrong with it?
   • What did you do with it?
   • When disposing of a TV would you rather see it recycled or go to landfill?
   • Do you think that there is a cost associated with recycling TVs, ie does it cost more to
      recycle a TV than the money made from reusing or recycling parts?
   • Or do you think that the recycler more than covers his costs from reusing or recycling parts?
   • Had you heard about the TV recycling project before coming this evening?

We are investigating options for a long term recycling program for TVs and I’m interested in
your views.
   •   If you had to dispose of a TV would you store it at home so it could be put out for collection
       at the next Council hard waste collection? Why or why not?
   •   Would you take it to your local Transfer Station or landfill? Why or why not?
   •   Would you take it to the retail store where you go to buy a new TV? Why or why not?
   •   Any other suggestions for how old TVs could be collected for recycling?
   •       Would you be happy to pay to have your TV recycled?

Why or why not?
   •      How much?
   •      Do you think this should be paid when you get rid of the old TV, or included in the
          purchase price?
   •      Any other comments or suggestions?

Thank you for your participation

Appendix G: Transfer Station Interviews

Summary of Interviews
    Eastern Recycling & Transfer Station (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Dianna Russell)
    Montrose Transfer Station & Recovery Centre (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Steve LeBruen)
    Whitehorse Transfer Station & Recycling Centre (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Cyril Butler)
    Knox Transfer Station & Landfill (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Danny Wilkes)
    Coldstream Recovery & Waste Transfer Centre (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Allan Broome)
    Healesville Transfer Station (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Allan Broome)
    Wesburn Transfer Station & Recovery Centre (Supervisor/Attendant/Interviewee – Kevin Smallman)

                                          Transfer Station and Recycling/Recovery Centre

Questions                                            Eastern                           Montrose                        Whitehorse                           Knox
Are you aware of the TV recycling pilot                Yes                               Yes                              Yes                     Yes, but only for the last 3
that we’ve been running over the past 6                                                                                                             months (new starter).
Approximately how many TVs were           Between 5 – 10 per week with           At least one per day.          Averaging 20 per week and         Between 6 – 20 per week
dropped off every week (over the last     fewer at the start and numbers                                             pretty constant
month compared to the start of the        increasing after the local press
pilot)?                                                coverage.
From your perspective, how would you           Quite good and positive.       Fairly successful, but the        Reasonably successful but       Successful because they don’t
rate the overall performance of the TV       Useful for those wanting to     majority of TVs have come in      cages are a problem as they             go to landfill.
Recycling Pilot Project to date?                     drop off TVs.             as part of a mixed load,         fill up quickly and cause a
                                           It’s provided an opportunity to   suggesting they didn’t know       mess being stacked around
                                          promote the transfer station to      about the TV recycling                     the cage.
                                           those that wouldn’t otherwise                service.
                                             use it or know where it is. A
                                             positive response from the
                                                    public overall.
Are any particular days more popular           Saturdays most popular.       No big difference, but slightly     Weekends most popular.             Obviously weekends.
for TV drop offs?                                                             more TVs on the weekend.
What have been some of the highlights        Promotion of the transfer           ‘No skin off our nose’.        Fair percentage of the public    Public happy they don’t have
or positive aspects of the TV Recycling   station generally; free service;        Maybe looks untidy           heard about the TV project via   to pay a fee to dispose of TVs.
Project?                                    environmentally beneficial;      sometimes as the pile of TVs        the local paper and some
                                             raised awareness among            grows before MRI collect.       come from outside the region
                                            other transfer station staff;                                         to have them ‘recycled’.
                                            MRI personnel knew what
                                             they were doing and very
                                                friendly; ‘not whingers’.
Where do you believe the majority of        Into the scrap metal skip and       Landfill. The majority of TVs                Landfill                          Landfill
TVs and VCRs would have ended up             then to metal recyclers e.g.       were recovered by transfer
had the TV Recycling Project not been       Sims. Generally not to landfill;     station staff as a part of a
in place?                                    TVs are too big and bulky to        mixed load being dumped.
                                            not spot on a load and extract.      Many TVs still would have
                                                                               gone to landfill despite the TV
                                                                                  project because transfer
                                                                                station staff are too busy or
                                                                               don’t spot all TVs that come in
                                                                                   as part of mixed loads.
Have transfer station users commented         ‘What happens to them?’            No, however people have          Yes, that they came from                 No comments.
on the TV Recycling Project in any           ‘Didn’t realise they could be       phoned in asking whether        outside the region to drop off
way?                                                   recycled’.               ‘Montrose’ is part of the TV               their TV.
                                                                                      recycling service.
How would you describe the initial          Easy to follow; easy to set up;                Sufficient            Lacked clear guidance about        MRI wanted TVs and monitors
instructions about the pilot and the back         effective signage.                                                       what types of              and whinged about other
up information from MRI for transfer                                                                             electronic/electrical products     electronic/electrical products
station personnel involved in TV                                                                                  were included and excluded          e.g. CPU; these went into
Recycling Project?                                                                                                   from the TV project. We              Sims/Norstar skip.
                                                                                                                    thought it was only TVs,
                                                                                                                      however the MRI guys
                                                                                                                    collected computers and
                                                                                                                  everything else after the first
                                                                                                                   pick so we expanded our
                                                                                                                       range of collectables.
What improvements could be made             Avoid confusion about eligible       Generally going ok; more        Avoid confusion about eligible     No improvements suggested,
where necessary?                              and ineligible products i.e.     publicity and promotion would          and ineligible products.        however to refer to other
                                            what’s in and out at the start;               be good.                                                  negative responses elsewhere
                                             need to be very clear; keep                                                                                      in results.
                                            brochures fresh and updated,
                                                    change colours
What improvements could be made in             Need to target particular       No improvements suggested.                 See above.                No improvements suggested
terms of training or information back-up    people working at the transfer
for transfer station personnel?               station in a hands on role;
                                               face to face, site by site
                                               training could be useful.
What could be done to help further               Ongoing and regular           More advertising and PR etc.       More promotion in the local           More advertising and
increase the number of TVs being            promotion and advertising. A                                         press; ‘people read their local            marketing.
dropped off at the transfer station?        regular newsletter or bulletin;                                                 papers’.
                                              some friendly competition
                                              between transfer stations;

There’s already been some comments          Need larger more accessible            Cages not practical, looks         Size of bin too small; fills up     Easier to access for users
and feedback about the stillages/cages      cages; must be able to deal          messy when TVs are stacked           quickly; a few large TVs and       when dropping off and for MRI
being inadequate? Any specific                with bigger, older TVs.              up outside the cage; need                    their full.                    when collecting.
comments about their suitability or                                              something to make it look neat
areas for improvement?                                                            as well as easy to load and
What specifically could be done to          Read and understand                  No improvements suggested.            Signage should show more          No improvements suggested.
further improve onsite handling of TVs      information from MRI and                                                  than TVs i.e. computers, etc
at the transfer station?                    Least waste about process
                                            and procedures.
Describe any specific problems (for           No problems mentioned by            No problems mentioned by           Pretty straightforward however       No problems mentioned by
users or staff) that have arisen from the    public of transfer station staff.   public of transfer station staff.   some guidelines needed about        public of transfer station staff.
transfer station users bringing in their                                                                               pick up process, timing and
old TVs?                                                                                                                transfer station equipment
                                                                                                                      they (MRI) can and can’t use
                                                                                                                             to load the truck.
Do you believe that transfer stations            Would have a negative           An extra fee for TVs would put      Public wouldn’t drop off TVs if     Public wouldn’t drop off TVs if
users would have dropped off their TVs      impact; 50% less successful if         people off. They’re likely to        an extra fee was imposed.         an extra fee was imposed.
and VCRs if they’d had to pay an extra       a fee was introduced for TVs.       then hide TVs under their load
fee?                                                                              as they currently do with tyres
                                                                                         and gas bottles.
From a transfer station operator’s           No problems or complaints             No problems or complaints          No problems or complaints           No problems or complaints
perspective, were there any problems               encountered.                           encountered.                      encountered.                        encountered.
encountered where a charge was made
for a mixed load that included a TV or
What proportion of transfer station         About 25% just TVs, however             A very small proportion,           About 50% just TVs and a               About 40% just TVs.
users have come to drop off discarded       the local press coverage lead                 maybe 2%.                   surprising number of elderly
TVs alone?                                   to a phase of ‘TV-only’ drop                                                       people.
What proportion of transfer station            About 75% as a part of a             The vast majority - 98%               About 50% just TVs               About 60% although final
users have been dropped off their TVs                 mixed load.                                                                                         number hard to judge as not
VCRs as part of a mixed waste load of                                                                                                                        all people take up the
waste?                                                                                                                                                   recycling options and drop off
                                                                                                                                                         points; some may still end up
                                                                                                                                                                    in the pit.
From your perspective what do you              See previous comments,                    No comments.                   Bar coding didn’t work; no               No comments.
think should be included or avoided in            suggestions and                                                    time when busy to stick labels
any future expansion of the TV                     improvements.                                                        on ‘and anyway MRI could
Recycling Project?                                                                                                     stick em on’; not realistic for
                                                                                                                           transfer station staff.
                                                                                                                           MRI efficient overall.

Do you have any other comments or    Pilot was a great networking     No comments or suggestions.      More publicity would be useful     No comments or suggestions.
suggestions about TV recycling?       opportunity to learn about                                             to get more TVs.
                                      EcoRecycle Victoria, MRI,                                          Clear information up front
                                      RMIT and CESA; pilot is a                                         about eligible and ineligible
                                     really good idea and should                                        products i.e. what’s in and
                                     certainly continue; TVs now                                                 what’s out
                                      not going to landfill; good
                                     public education opportunity;
                                     great being able to deal with
                                     another product/waste at the
                                            transfer station.
Adequacy of Signage                  More prominent positioning        More prominent positioning        Very poor positioning; not       Poor positioning; not obvious
                                    required. Partly obscured. Not      required. Not firmly fixed.     obvious to public. Not firmly      to public. Not firmly fixed.
                                              firmly fixed.                                                         fixed.
Type of container                             Yellow cage                Cage not used/present                   Yellow cage                      Yellow cage
Convenience of location             Relatively convenient location,        Quite convenient            Not really convenient to public;    Relatively convenient and
                                     but isolated from overall site                                     appeared to be on a median         straightforward vehicular
                                              operations.                                                    adjacent to a busy           parking but compounded by
                                                                                                                thoroughfare.                    obscured sign.
Contents of bin                     Mostly computer monitors and            TVs, VCRs, HiFis            Monitors and an electric fan        TV’s, monitors, ‘ghetto
                                        TVs in adjacent pile.                                                      heater.                 blaster’; a car battery and
                                                                                                                                            computer packaging in
                                                                                                                                                  adjacent pile.
How full?                             Full with a large stockpile       No cage but a very large         Virtually empty with a few          Full and overflowing.
                                               adjacent.                   stockpile adjacent.                    monitors.
Any concerns / problems?              See relevant notes above.        See relevant notes above.         See relevant notes above.         See relevant notes above.
                                                                      Specific TV site under cover –
                                                                        a positive for public and
                                                                             collectors (MRI).

                                               Transfer Station and Recycling/Recovery Centre

Questions                                                Coldstream                              Healesville                           Wesburn
Are you aware of the TV recycling pilot                     Yes                      The Healesville transfer station is                Yes
that we’ve been running over the past 6                                               operated by the same contractor
months?                                                                               as Coldstream (Alan Browne),
                                                                                       who noted that there has been
                                                                                     very little TV recycling activity.

Approximately how many TVs were                   Between 10 – 15 per week.                      Very few.                     Between 5 – 7 per week
dropped off every week (over the last
month compared to the start of the pilot)?
From your perspective, how would you rate       A good service and MRI were          Insignificant activity or drop offs   very good; good to have a facility
the overall performance of the TV                      very efficient.                    to make any meaningful             collecting/recycling TVs; it’s a
Recycling Pilot Project to date?                                                       conclusions or observations.          new service; it’s an opportunity
                                                                                                                           to educate and inform users about
                                                                                                                            recycling and being able to drop
                                                                                                                            off their TVs and other products;
                                                                                                                            a good communications exercise
Are any particular days more popular for           Weekends most popular.            Insignificant activity or drop offs      Weekends most popular, with
TV drop offs?                                                                             to make any meaningful               weekdays being very quiet.
                                                                                       conclusions or observations.
What have been some of the highlights or        Local press coverage generated       Insignificant activity or drop offs     Good opportunity to educate
positive aspects of the TV Recycling           some interest; project is a ‘bloody        to make any meaningful           users about recycling and the fact
Project?                                                  good idea’                   conclusions or observations.        that something can be done with
                                                                                                                            TVs; straightforward to add the
                                                                                                                                   service to the site
Where do you believe the majority of TVs                    Landfill                 Insignificant activity or drop offs                Landfill
and VCRs would have ended up had the TV                                                   to make any meaningful
Recycling Project not been in place?                                                   conclusions or observations.
Have transfer station users commented on        Public believe it’s a good idea.     Insignificant activity or drop offs      ‘Good that it’s happening’.
the TV Recycling Project in any way?                                                      to make any meaningful
                                                                                       conclusions or observations.
How would you describe the initial              Information was sufficient but           See Coldstream response                ‘Sufficient to do the job’;
instructions about the pilot and the back up     didn’t know about computer                                                 recognised that any new service
information from MRI for transfer station        screens being included at the                                                  or idea would have a few
personnel involved in TV Recycling                           start.                                                           ‘teething probs’ but nothing
Project?                                                                                                                                 major.
What improvements could be made where            Cages were ‘way too small’.         Insignificant activity or drop offs   From an OH&S view it would be
necessary?                                                                                to make any meaningful           good to have a secure or lockable
                                                                                       conclusions or observations.         cage to deter vandals that might
info sheets for personnel, info sheets for                                                                               access the transfer station at night
transfer station users, web site, signage,                                                                                and smash up the CRTs with the
meetings with other transfer station                                                                                        subsequent need for transfer
personnel … other?                                                                                                       station staff to clean up the glass.
                                                                                                                          Also keeping the TVs/monitors
                                                                                                                          dry would be worthwhile if they
                                                                                                                                  were to be reused.
What improvements could be made in             No really needed; all worked well   Insignificant activity or drop offs      No improvements suggested.
terms of training or information back-up for       by directing public to TV            to make any meaningful                however see other related
transfer station personnel?                                sign/pile.                conclusions or observations.                      responses.
What could be done to help further increase    Exclude TVs and monitors from           See Coldstream response            More advertising and promotion
the number of TVs being dropped off at the          hardwaste collections.                                                  in the shire newsletter; more
transfer station?                                                                                                        brochures at services centres and
                                                                                                                         other suitable venues; local paper
                                                                                                                                 coverage if no cost.
There’s already been some comments and         Too small; see related responses.       See Coldstream response               Cages need to be larger and
feedback about the stillages being                                                                                         ideally lockable; some shelter
inadequate?                                                                                                                     required if any reuse.
What specifically could be done to further       No improvements suggested.        Insignificant activity or drop offs   As above. Signage should reflect
improve onsite handling of TVs at the              however see other related            to make any meaningful               the total range of electronic
transfer station?                                          responses.                conclusions or observations.                 products recycled.
Describe any specific problems (for users      A few users needed a hand to off    Insignificant activity or drop offs       No specific problems noted
or staff) that have arisen from the transfer       load larger TVs from their           to make any meaningful                however see other related
station users bringing in their old TVs?        cars/trailers; many people also      conclusions or observations.                      responses.
                                                  dropped off their computers
                                                (CPUs) together with TVs and
                                                monitors and these ended up in
                                                mixed waste bin headed for the
Do you believe that transfer stations users    Public wouldn’t drop off TVs if     Insignificant activity or drop offs   Public wouldn’t drop off TVs if
would have dropped off their TVs and           an extra fee was imposed; also           to make any meaningful           an extra fee was imposed. Quite
VCRs if they’d had to pay an extra fee?        not applicable as most came as        conclusions or observations.          confident that a fee would not
                                               part of a mixed load                                                      work; being a rural and bushland
                                                                                                                         area need to be careful that fees
                                                                                                                         (and their avoidance) don’t lead
                                                                                                                          to illegal dumping in the bush;
                                                                                                                          then it will costs even more to
                                                                                                                                     extract them
From a transfer station operator’s                No problems or complaints        Insignificant activity or drop offs      No problems or complaints
perspective, were there any problems                    encountered.                    to make any meaningful                      encountered.
encountered where a charge was made for a                                            conclusions or observations.
mixed load that included a TV or VCR?
What proportion of transfer station users          A very small percentage.        Insignificant activity or drop offs   Very few; some phoned ahead to
have come to drop off discarded TVs                                                     to make any meaningful           confirm TV recycling service was

alone?                                                                              conclusions or observations.                    offered.
What proportion of transfer station users     The vast majority were part of a    Insignificant activity or drop offs          The vast majority.
have been dropped off their TVs VCRs as                mixed load.                     to make any meaningful
part of a mixed waste load of waste?                                                conclusions or observations.
From your perspective what do you think          See previous comments,           Insignificant activity or drop offs      See previous responses; MRI
should be included or avoided in any future   suggestions and improvements.            to make any meaningful             very professional and efficient;
expansion of the TV Recycling Project?                                              conclusions or observations.        responded on time and when they
                                                                                                                                 said they’d collect;
                                                                                                                        liaise with collector/MRI to work
                                                                                                                            out most effective collection
                                                                                                                          regime i.e. avoid driving out to
                                                                                                                         Wesburn for 5 TVs all the way
                                                                                                                                from Campbellfield
Do you have any other comments or             A fair amount of mixed e-waste      Insignificant activity or drop offs      Use the TV recycling pilot to
suggestions about TV recycling?                (non TV and monitor waste               to make any meaningful            further promote and educate the
                                              ended up in the landfill bin e.g.     conclusions or observations.             local community about the
                                              monitor and computer casings,                                                   importance of recycling;
                                              printed circuit boards, printers,                                            some sheltered storage for the
                                                       broken CRTs                                                       product would be worth thinking
Adequacy of Signage                             Very prominent to public.                     See above                      Very prominent to public.
Type of container                                      Yellow cage                            See above                             Yellow cage
Convenience of location                       Very convenient; easy vehicular                 See above                  Very convenient; easy vehicular
                                                           access.                                                                      access.
Contents of bin                                             TVs                               See above                                  TVs
How full?                                       Full and larger surrounding                   See above                  One third full with one large and
                                                         stockpile                                                                  one small TV
Any concerns / problems?                                    None                              See above                                  None

Appendix H: Service Centre/Rental Outlet Survey
Questions asked in telephone interview (June 2002) to TV service centres/ rental outlets in the pilot region

(I’m calling from the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association about a pilot TV and VCR recycling program that has been taking place in
your region. I’d really appreciate a few minutes of your time to ask some questions to help us analyse the success of our project…)

1) Were you aware there was a pilot TV & VCR project taking place in your region?

YES                                                  NO
                                                     GO TO 6

2) Did you participate? (prompt: ie send TVs/VCRs/parts for recycling)

YES                                                  NO

3) Why?                                              a) why not?
                                                     b) what would encourage you?

                                                     GO TO 6
4) Did you
   a) drop the TVs/VCRs off at a transfer station?
   b) arrange for the TVs/VCRs to be collected from you?

5) Were the TVs/VCRs in working order? (some/yes/no, note any comments)

6) To what extent do you ‘scavenge’ parts from ‘dead’ TVs/videos?

Not at all                                           some scavenging (note details)

7) Would some sort of arrangement for ‘scavenging rights’ with a recycler interest you?

YES                                             NO
(note details)

8) Any comments?

                                                               Thank you for your time.


Twenty-five companies were phoned to ask if they would answer the short phone survey. Four could not, or would not participate (three citing ‘not interested’).
The responses of the other 21 companies are summarised below.

1) Were you aware there was a pilot TV & VCR project taking place in your region?
YES                                                           NO
9                                                             12
2) (if aware) did you participate?
YES                                                           NO
6                                                             3
Why?                                                          Why not?
Easy                                                          Not enough product
Saves throwing out                                            Not worth the time and effort
Costs to dump at tip                                          Council collects them if we throw them out the back
Recycling good because of hazardous material                  Return them to customers to dispose of
Good if someone else can make use of them
                                                              What would encourage your participation?
3) (if participated) did you?
drop the TVs/VCRs off at a transfer station?                  arrange for the TVs/VCRs to be collected from you?

1                                                                4
4) (if participated) were the TVs/VCRs in working order?
Some were, some were not – ones customers decided were not       None worked
worth fixing. Just outdated – most worked.
5) To what extent do you ‘scavenge’ parts from ‘dead’ TVs/videos?
Not at all                                                       some scavenging
4 – many commented that they only buy new parts or was not worth 6 (about 5 %, 5%, 30%, 5-10%, 20%), rarely, probably only
it                                                               twice a year

6) (if scavenger) would some sort of arrangement for ‘scavenging rights’ with a recycler interest you?
No - shutting down!
No - 3
Maybe - 3
Yes - 2 – interested particularly in power/line output transformers, picture tubes, integrated circuits. And parts not available from
wholesaler/supplier – eg remote control for old model would be useful.
7) Any comments?
All old units are sent to Boxhill TAFE
Don’t think people are interested in recycling
Good idea to recycle as people are more frequently not repairing, simply replacing, as price of repair becomes too expensive –
making repairers redundant.
Please keep informed about recycling schemes
Would like to see this become widespread
Fantastic idea
All for recycling!

Appendix I: Product collected by brand
Period: Nov - April
Sanyo                      6     1.69%
Philips                   47    13.24%
Sharp                     19     5.35%
Sony                       6     1.69%
Teac                       4     1.13%
Mitsubishi                 4     1.13%
Hitachi                   23     6.48%
Samsung                   34     9.58%
LG                         3     0.85%
NEC                       16     4.51%
Panasonic                 13     3.66%
Thorn                      7     1.97%
Toshiba                   20     5.63%
Masuda                     3     0.85%
Loewe                      3     0.85%
AWA/PYE                    9     2.54%
Greisler                   2     0.56%
GE                         5     1.41%
JVC                        5     1.41%
Other                     32     9.01%
Goldstar                   5     1.41%
Chunghwa                  15     4.23%
Thomas                     3     0.85%
Palsonic                   1     0.28%
Monitors                  68    19.15%
Rank                       2     0.56%
                         355   100.00%

    Appendix J: Stillage specifications

        Side View

                    Lifting     Load Limit

                                        180mm   125mm

1050m                                                             800mm



        End View               1100mm





Description: Project on Consumer Electronics document sample