By Patrick Avenell
Product Stewardship Australia (PSA), an abstractly named organisation founded by the major suppliers of televisions in Australia, is urging the Federal Government to finally cooperate in order to establish a system to manage the collection and recycling of obsolescent televisions. After months of lobbying, PSA are hopeful that progress can finally be made when the Ministers meet at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council conference, which starts tomorrow in Adelaide.
The requirement of such a system is due to the switch over to digital television in the new year. Whilst some consumers are choosing to upscale their analogue models through set-top boxes, those that purchase a new model will most likely have an unused, and unusable, model that needs to be kept out of landfill.
Where the PSA needs Government help is in providing regulations. Although it’s normally odd for an organisation comprised of big businesses to seek Government intervention, PSA has a valid reason for this. It’s formation and funding comes from the big players – an enormous investment in a project that can’t directly generate any return. PSA chairman Ken Thompson confirmed this.
“[The] industry is totally committed to funding and developing a TV recycling infrastructure to directly deal with the switch to digital television, but this can only be achieved with the support of the Federal Government.
“Without safety net regulation to direct environmentally indifferent TV suppliers into socially responsible recycling initiatives, obsolete analogue TVs will end up in landfill with no materials recovery and resource conservation whatsoever.”
But not all suppliers are big players, and not all suppliers have kicked in. Government intervention is about stopping freeloaders and small players from escaping this costly progression without contributing, or even participating.
Essentially, the big boys don’t want the little boys playing for free, or even playing if it means sharing the playground. Some would call this pedantic, even indicative of bullying, but the companies that have invested time and money to finally get this off the ground deserve to write the rules too, and the Government is expected to agree.
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