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Victoria upgrades e-waste collection and storage facilities ahead of e-waste ban

According to a press release, the Victorian Government is upgrading e-waste collection and storage facilities across Victoria to help them receive and safely manage increasing levels of e-waste.

E-waste refers to anything with a plug or battery at the end of its useful life. It includes everything from old mobile phones, computers and related equipment, audio devices, etc.

At the moment, according to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Ms Lily D’Ambrosio, only 3% of Australia’s battery waste is recycled each year.

The amount of e-waste generated in Victoria is projected to increase from 109,000 tonnes in 2015 to approximately 256,000 tonnes in 2035.

On their recent visit to Australia’s first lithium and hand-held battery recycling facility at Envirostream Australia in Gisborne, Minister LD’Ambrosio and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas announced that more than 130 e-waste collection sites will be upgraded.

This investment to upgrade e-waste collection and storage facilities hopes to promote better management of e-waste and ensure that Victoria has one of best e-waste collection infrastructure networks in the country.

The upgrades will ensure that 98% of Victorians in metropolitan areas will be within a 20-minute drive of an e-waste disposal point, and 98% of Victorians in regional areas will be within a 30-minute drive of an e-waste disposal point.

The A16.5 million investment will see Envirostream Australia partner with Australian not-for-profit organisation Planet Ark and Mobile Muster, the country’s only government-accredited mobile phone recycling program, on a network of battery disposal units.

“For the first time, Australia has a cost-effective, onshore solution for end-of-life lithium batteries, with the potential to significantly grow the current three per cent recovery rate of this e-waste stream, the lowest rate in the OECD,” said Mr Kohn Polhill, National Development Manager of Envirostream Australia.

The investment aligns with the Victorian Government’s ban on e-waste, which will start 1 July 2019, and is in response to important issues raised during consultation on the ban.

Starting the ban mid next year will allow extra time for new infrastructure to be in place, for the state-wide education campaign to reach more people, and for those managing e-waste, especially local councils, to prepare for the new arrangements.

To ensure that the ban on e-waste is effective, Victoria has invested over A$16.5 million in measures to boost its e-waste management capabilities.

Late last year, the Victorian Government set up a new e-waste processing centre at Officer, Melbourne’s outer southeast. The facility is expected to process 1,000 tonnes of e-waste this year with capacity to divert 5,000 tonnes from landfill.

More information about Victoria’s e-waste management approach is available via https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/sustainability/e-waste-in-victoria.

Feature image: Sascha Pohflepp/ CC BY 2.0

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