By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: With an unprecedented two million TVs set to go into landfill this year, a coalition of leading consumer electronics brands including Sharp and Panasonic has demanded the federal government take action on e-waste.

In a letter obtained by addressed to federal environment minister, Peter Garrett, Product Stewardship Australia (PSA), which represents companies including Sharp, Panasonic, NEC and Philips, has expressed frustration and disappointment at a lack of action to curb the rising number of TVs going into landfill.

PSA said its proposal for a fully-funded, national TV recycling scheme, which has been on the table nearly three years, has to date been ignored.

“The industry has been really proactive and positive but the government is sitting on its hands,” PSA executive officer, John Gerstakis, told today.

“Local governments are keen to see a solution for their rate payers, and consumers also want to make the right decision in how they dispose of these products, but the government remains the major blockage in the process.

“We want to know they are committed.”

E-waste has become a major environmental issue with the rapid redundancy cycle of modern consumer electronics.

PSA is proposing an industry-led recycling scheme for bulky audiovisual products like TVs be introduced ahead of digital switchover in 2012, which will see a dramatic spike in redundant analogue sets thrown on the garbage heap.

But the group is calling on the federal government to enact legislation requiring all TV suppliers to take on their fair share of the burden.

“We want to see regulation that will ensure the entire TV industry takes on its environmental responsibilities,” said Gertsakis.

“There’s no reason [PSA members] should have to pay for those who are not participating.”

Gertsakis said the process has been stalled by the Environmental Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC), which he said is ‘fundamentally flawed’ and only meets twice a year.

A meeting with the EPHC just two weeks ago resulted in no firm commitment on the issue.

But following the stern letter sent to Peter Garret and state environment ministers, PSA has secured hearings with both levels of government.

“Hopefully things are picking up,” said Gertsakis.