Briefing paper, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, 2009
About the report
This report has been prepared by the Institute of Sustainable Futures to summarise the key features and outcomes of product stewardship schemes in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China.
Product Stewardship schemes vary across all four countries. Japan’s product stewardship scheme for electronic waste is the most established and China’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) scheme is currently under development following passage of enabling legislation in early 2009. All schemes cover electrical and electronic equipment such as televisions, computers, refrigerators, air conditioners and mobile phones. Schemes in Japan and South Korea also cover additional products including packaging.
There are a range of different approaches, obligations and mechanisms in place. Schemes in Taiwan, South Korea and China place financial responsibility upon producers, while the Japanese scheme places financial responsibility on consumers, and producers take physical responsibility for specified end-of-life consumer goods.
The report identifies two key differences between these countries and Australia—the extent to which incineration is used for waste management and energy generation, and the scarcity of land available for landfill. It also identifies lessons for Australia based on the experience with Asian schemes including effective financial incentives, consumer convenience, competition impacts, participation of manufacturers, and addressing free riders.
The report forms part of a suite of research reports used to inform the National Waste Policy - Less waste, more resources.