The idea of an e-waste free Australia was a hot topic at this year’s Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo in Melbourne.
The country’s leading experts called for greater cohesion between the industry, government and the community to assist with overcoming the growing e-waste problem.
Australia’s waste industry needs better strategies to deal with the proliferation of e-waste, said John Gertsakis of Infoactiv during the E-waste Futures panel discussion.
Despite ongoing improvements in e-waste recycling practices in Australia, panelists spoke of how the country was lagging behind its counterparts.
Europe leads the way when it comes to e-waste after creating a sense of shared responsibility between manufacturers, government and the community.
Rebecca Brown from the Western Australian Local Government Association called for new legislation to shift the onus back on to manufacturers and to set new standards for the quality of electronic goods produced, rather than relying solely on product stewardship and recycling.
Panelists also called for greater leadership at a government level, as aspiring to be e-waste free would create jobs, business opportunities and investment in infrastructure.
Alexandra Haughton, AWRE Event Manager, said that the highly attended and insightful discussions on e-waste held during AWRE reinforced the event’s position as a leading industry event.
“AWRE’s education program offered delegates an exclusive opportunity to access the key influencers and decision makers in the rapidly changing landscape of waste and recycling in Australia,” Ms Haughton said.
On the exhibition floor of AWRE, e-waste featured heavily, with MobileMuster creating a dynamic installation out of 570 old mobile handsets and 500 circuit boards to replicate an Australian Rules football field.
The 570 phones represented the 5.7 million unused mobile phones in storage across Victoria, which is enough phones to cover the surface of the MCG one and a half times. If recycled, it would divert 985 tonnes of e-waste from landfill, which would have the same environmental impact of planting 30,000 trees.
Held over two-days, AWRE 2015 was attended by more than 1700 key industry professionals, making it the most successful show in the event’s six-year history. This was re-enforced with 78 per cent of the 2015 exhibitors already committed to returning to the 2016 show.
AWRE organisers Diversified Communications concluded the event with the announcement that they have an in principle agreement with the Waste Management Association of Australia to host the association’s Enviro Conference at AWRE from 2016.
Diversified Communications Group Event Director Brett Judd said that the company had listened to the industry and was looking to consolidate the two events in order to provide the industry with a single premier event.
“In just six years, AWRE has grown to become the most established commercial event dedicated to the Australasian waste and recycling marketplace,” Mr Judd said.
“In 2016, our aim is to deliver a superior educational program, showcasing international and domestic speakers, alongside a large range of commercial solution providers.”
The first co-located AWRE and Enviro Conference is scheduled for Sydney in July, next year. For more information visit www.awre.com.au