By Patrick Avenell

Today marks an historic moment in the 56-year history of television in Australia, with the first recycling station now accepting end-of-life TVs, as well as PC hardware and peripherals.

After years of talking about how the industry would respond to the problem of CRTs on footpaths, the opening today of two E-Waste collection points — both in the Australian Capital Territory — is the first in a long march to finally rid our homes and streets of unwanted technology.

Somewhat ironically, it is not Product Stewardship Australia, the industry association that represented the major manufacturers in discussions with the Government, before evolving into the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP), that will receive the first load of TVs and computers, with German logistics behemoth DHL taking that honour.

“DHL Supply Chain is pleased to launch this service in conjunction with the ACT Government today and is looking forward to further expanding this service to over 100 collection sites across Australia,” said DHL South Pacific CEO Terry Ryan.

“Because residents of the ACT will be able to access the free scheme on an ongoing basis, there is no need to dispose of these items straight away: they can hold off to dispose of the items at a time that suits them.”

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The road to this day has been a long one. In October 2008, then PSA chairman Ken Thompson told that TV recycling would be operational by early 2009. Countering this view at the time was Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey, who correctly predicted that it would take years.

Along the way, there has been debate about how the scheme would be run, how it would be paid for, what to do with the so-called ‘freeloaders’. At one stage, there was even a push to have retailers more actively involved, though no mandated participation ever eventuated.

ACT chief minister Katy Gallagher said the scheme would not only remove unwanted technology but also provide a boost to Australia’s recycling industry.

“The new national e-waste scheme will help play a significant role in improving the recycling rates of televisions and computers not only in the ACT but across the nation,” Gallagher said in a statement.

“As it rolls out, the new national e-waste scheme will provide people with greater choice for recycling when disposing of their electronic goods, at the same time helping Australia’s recycling industry to grow.

“It is hoped the free scheme will also alleviate ongoing issues in the ACT around illegal dumping.”

DHL’s heretofore only recycling partner in the scheme is Sony. All other announced appointments have been with the ANZRP.