The Minister for the Environment has listed the classes of products below in accordance with Section 108A of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 (the Act).
Listed classes of products are those for which the Minister will consider, during 2017-18, whether some form of accreditation or regulation under the Act might be appropriate. Plastic microbeads and products containing them, batteries, photovoltaic systems, electrical and electronic products, and plastic oil containers are all retained in the list for 2017-18. These classes of products are the highest priorities for consideration for product stewardship approaches.
Some definitional changes have been made to the classes of products listed in 2017-18. These are explained below.
Publishing this list serves two purposes. Firstly, it provides certainty to the community and business about what is being considered for coverage under the Act. Secondly, the Act requires at least 12 months notification be given that a class of products is being considered for some form of accreditation or regulation under the Act before regulations may be made in relation to that class of products. The product list serves as this notice.
|Class of products||Date of notice||Reasons|
|Plastic microbeads and products containing them||30 June 2017||
Plastic microbeads are manufactured plastic particles less than 5mm in size. They are used in many cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products. They are sold in a national market and there is potential to reduce the impacts they have on the environment and the health and safety of people.
Plastic microbeads can persist in the environment for a long time and were found to have detrimental impacts on aquatic organisms, ecosystems and the food chain. They may carry chemical contaminants that pose an ecotoxicological risk. These particles can be transferred to higher levels in the food chain causing adverse effects and may serve as a global transport mechanism for accumulated contaminants such as persistent organic pollutants.
Industry is leading the establishment of an arrangement to deliver a voluntarily phase-out of microbeads in Australia. At the Meeting of Environment Ministers in July 2017, Ministers reasserted that if the industry-led approach does not phase out microbeads effectively by mid-2018, governments will move to implement a ban.
Plastic microbeads and products containing them were first listed in 2016–17.
|Batteries||30 June 2017||
Many batteries types contain hazardous substances and materials that can be recovered for reuse. End-of-life batteries have the potential to harm the environment and people if not managed effectively. Only about five per cent of the end-of-life batteries produced every year are recycled. Recycling processes vary with battery types.
Large batteries, including lithium-ion and other batteries used in electric vehicles and stationary energy storage, are becoming increasingly common. A substantial increase is expected in the number of these batteries entering the waste stream in coming years. The Government expects that industry will establish a product stewardship scheme to ensure that arrangements are in place to deal safely and efficiently with these batteries before they begin to enter the waste stream in more significant quantities.
Work on a scheme for smaller, hazardous batteries is ongoing. The Queensland Government and industry are leading this process, with support from the Australian and other state and territory governments.
Batteries weighing up to 5kg were first listed in 2014–15 and the listing was expanded to include all batteries in 2016–17.
|Photovoltaic systems||30 June 2017||
This class of products encompasses photovoltaic cells, inverter equipment and system accessories such as batteries, for domestic, commercial and industrial applications.
Photovoltaic systems are becoming increasingly common as the community adopts solar energy technology. The volume of photovoltaic system equipment reaching end-of-life is expected to sharply increase in coming years to become Australia’s largest electronic waste growth stream.
Components of photovoltaic systems may contain hazardous substances. Photovoltaic systems also contain many recoverable materials of value. The complexity of these systems creates challenges for the full recovery of valuable materials.
Photovoltaic systems are sold in a national market and their disposal at end of life involves a cost to governments. There is potential to increase the recovery of valuable resources through improved collection and recycling pathways, while also reducing the impacts of hazardous materials on the environment and human health through diverting materials from landfills.
Work on a scheme for photovoltaic systems is being led by the Victoria Government with the support of the Australian and other state and territory governments, industry and other stakeholders.
Photovoltaic systems were first listed in 2016–17.
|Electrical and electronic products||30 June 2017||
Under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, the television and computer industry funds the collection and recycling of end-of-life televisions, printers, computers, computer parts and peripherals.
People often deliver other electrical and electronic products, particularly television peripherals, hi-fi equipment and other home appliances, to collection services provided under the scheme. This adds to the cost of the scheme and indicates that there is potential to increase the recovery of valuable resources and to reduce the impact of hazardous material on the environment.
Further consultation is required to identify which additional electronics product could be included under this scheme. The review of the operation of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 will consider whether there is a case to expand the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include other categories of electrical and electronic products.
Electrical and electronic products were first listed in 2016–17.
|Plastic oil containers||30 June 2017||
Plastic oil containers have the potential to harm the environment and people because of the residual oil they contain, including oil adsorbed into the plastic. There is potential to increase the recovery of resources and reduce the impacts on the environment and human health through collection and recycling of these containers. Plastic containers of oil are sold in a national market.
The Australian Institute of Petroleum administered a successful scheme for the collection and recycling of used plastic oil containers from 2004 to 2016. Over time, the number and market share of oil companies participating in the scheme decreased, meaning that the cost of the scheme was being borne by a smaller proportion of oil companies. Consequently, the remaining participants reduced the geographic coverage of the scheme in 2016 and the scheme was formally closed on 31 December 2016.
Consultation with industry during 2016–17 indicated an interest in recycling of plastic oil containers being considered in the context of the impending fourth independent review of the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000.
Plastic oil containers were first listed in 2016–17.