Australian e-waste legislation and the impact on your business

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Examining the impact of e-waste legislation for businesses in Australia.

22 June 20227 mins
Australian E-Waste Legislation

Australian legislation regulates electronic waste (e-waste) management.

Designed to reduce waste and avoid pollution, local governments are tasked with the management of domestic e-waste disposal. The collection and processing of everything from unwanted electric equipment to used batteries is tasked to the Australian government, but what are the responsibilities of your organisation?

Let’s examine the latest e-waste regulation changes and how they could impact your business.

E-Waste Legislation

End-of-life electronics disposal laws came into effect when Australia signed on to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in 1992. Widely touted as “step one” in Australian efforts to control e-waste, joining the Basel Convention began to address the compounding problem of improper disposal for electronic items.

The national waste policy infrastructure obligations introduced with the 1992 agreement include:

  • A reduction in the generation of hazardous waste and materials.
  • The existence of facilities equipped to adequately dispose of e-waste.
  • Efforts to reduce and control the international movement of hazardous materials.
  • The prevention of illegal traffic.

Efforts to further the initiatives of the Basel Convention include the Waigani Convention of 2001, designed to ban the import of all hazardous materials into South Pacific Forum Island Countries.

The latest and most significant change to Australian waste legislation occurred on July 1, 2019. Now anything with a plug, battery or cord is designated as e-waste, and is no longer accepted at landfills across Australia.

What does this mean for your secure IT asset disposal (ITAD)?

How E-Waste Legislation Affects Your Business

The Australian governments’ E-Stewardship efforts aim to improve the environmentally sound management of e-products throughout their lifecycle. Since the rate of e-waste generated by Australians has doubled in the past ten years, your organisation’s commitment to proper ITAD disposal is more important than ever.

A business found in non-compliance with Australian Government regulations could be subject to a maximum penalty of $5,000,000 for wilful offences.

To avoid potential fines and penalties, here are the accepted ways your business can currently dispose of e-waste:

  • Permanent collection sites at local waste and raw material recycling transfer stations
  • Approved retail outlets and landfill locations
  • One-off collection and recycling events governed by local Councils

It is important to note that while services may be free for some small enterprises, charges may be incurred for larger organisations.

The decommissioning of end-user assets remains another important area of focus for Australian business operators. Assisting in the retirement of an asset from your company may involve more than simply offboarding servers and removing equipment from your premises. Disposal records and end-of-service preparations often follow a series of protocols to ensure their removal is handled efficiently and following legislation. How does your organisation handle the decommissioning of data centre servers and storage devices?

The next section will outline best practices for waste recycling and disposal that comply with regulations in all Australian States.

Collection and Disposal of E-Waste

In order to protect the environment, comply with government laws and avoid hefty fines, it is important for your business to adhere to waste management regulations. Product stewardship the responsibility of every Australian business, and government allocation in the form of an investment fund is available for enterprises committed to adopting environmentally responsible practices.

n order to ensure compliance with the product stewardship act, here are necessary steps to take:

  • Use recycled materials whenever possible.
  • Monitor the life cycle of office electronics and IT assets, and replace them responsibly upon end of operation. This ensures energy efficiency and encourages attention to collection points and waste management regulations.
  • Ensure the proper decommission and disposal of computers and other electronic materials via collection agencies or disposal centres.

The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) was an initiative introduced in 2011 to provide 98% of the Australian population with reasonable access to recycling and collection services.

There are plenty of collection avenues available for organisations seeking to effectively dispose of expired electronic assets. However, due to the resources, time and manpower allocated to the oversight and collection of e-waste materials, many businesses prefer to outsource efficient service providers.

Iron Mountain E-Waste Solutions

Iron Mountain takes the worry out of ITAD by offering comprehensive solutions tailored to your company’s needs. Our ISO-certified e-waste recycling, disposal and IT asset disposition service is secure, cost-effective and environmentally responsible.

We ensure your sensitive data is dispositioned securely using certified erasure or degassing methods. Our asset destruction protocols comply with the latest local government regulations, so your business doesn’t worry about incurring penalties for missing new and relevant disposal law changes.

Iron Mountain’s asset remarketing service guarantees competitive re-market pricing for any IT assets that could find new life. We maintain an extensive database of e-goods resellers and will broker the best deal for your organisation.

Today’s smart devices are designed to have a shorter life than ever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reimbursement for remarketing goods that still provide value to other businesses. With Iron Mountain solutions, we not only deliver value for the compensation you’ll receive for your used electronics … you’ll rest assured that any of your important or sensitive data is completely erased prior to transfer.

Iron Mountain protects your company information and brand reputation throughout the entirety of the disposal or recycling process. Our solutions boast a 99.4% No Landfill Rating, and our menu of services are fully-customisable to accommodate the specific needs of your organisation.
Our service offerings include:

  • E-waste recycling service
  • IT asset remarketing
  • Hard drive, media and tape destruction
  • Enterprise IT asset disposition programs
  • Printer and computer disposal and recycling

Iron Mountain. Compliance without compromise. To trust us with your valuable IT assets and ensure that your e-waste disposal protocols align with the latest Australian standards, contact us today.