Northerns Rivers Waste Team Leader of Resource Recovery in Lismore Chris Spencer, deals with EWaste items bought to the facility.
Northerns Rivers Waste Team Leader of Resource Recovery in Lismore Chris Spencer, deals with EWaste items bought to the facility. Cathy Adams

Councils may profit in E-waste bonanza

CHANGES to the laws that force manufacturers and importers of TVs and computers to take more responsibility for the product stewardship of their goods could be a financial bonanza for local councils.

Richmond Valley Council's manager of environmental waste, Peter Cotterill said they used to pay around $1000 a tonne to dispose of computers and TVs, but now companies are calling them and coming to collect it. And often they are paying $50-80 a tonne for the privilege.

Mr Cotterill said last year they had a budget of $20,000 for the disposal of E-waste, but that could soon be $0 or even something that brings in money for the council.

The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme is being progressively rolled out around Australia and means that consumers are able to drop their old equipment off free of charge and manufacturers and importers have to meet certain quotas for recycling.

They have to enter into agreements approved by government where they collect and recycle old TVs and computers to keep them out of the waste stream and keep hazardous materials out of the environment.

For Lismore City Council that could mean a saving of $270,000 within a few years.

That's the figure for the disposal of all E-waste in the last financial year according to Lismore's waste education officer Kevin Trustum.

He said most other E-waste is recycled with some items such as vacuum cleaners going to landfill, but he said the scheme means they are likely to be making money within two years.

"People are paying more when they are buying a TV or computer to cover the cost of recycling," Mr Trustum said.

E-WASTE: Peter Cotterill (above), Manager Environment, Health and Regulatory Control for Richmond Valley Council with discarded electronics at Casino waste and recycle facility and, at right, Northern Rivers Waste Operations Supervisor Charlie Crethar with one of the television sets collected at the E-Waste facility.
E-WASTE: Peter Cotterill (above), Manager Environment, Health and Regulatory Control for Richmond Valley Council with discarded electronics at Casino waste and recycle facility and, at right, Northern Rivers Waste Operations Supervisor Charlie Crethar with one of the television sets collected at the E-Waste facility. Doug Eaton And Cathy Adams


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