Pallet loads of old television sets and computers have begun arriving at Canberra’s rubbish tips after a free national recycling scheme began today.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Don Farrell today launched the first stage of the scheme at the Mugga Lane tip.
Ms Gallagher urged Canberra residents to consider waiting a few weeks to drop off unwanted TVs to help avoid the initial rush.
‘‘It is likely the Mugga Lane and Mitchell Transfer Stations will be very busy in the first few weeks of the new scheme. The ACT Government encourages residents to consider holding their items for a while longer to avoid long queues, especially on weekends. The free e-waste recycling service is a permanent arrangement so there is no need to rush,’’ Ms Gallagher said.
The ACT Government hopes the scheme will help alleviate some of the ongoing issues in the ACT around illegal dumping, especially around charity bins.
An e-waste recycling service had previously been offered at a fee in the ACT.
Almost 4000 people paid to get rid of their old televisions in February, March and April this year. More than 85 tonnes of televisions and computers were sent to recyclers by ACT Nowaste in February and March. Another 60 tonnes was sent last month. Over the past 12 months there has been an average of 61 tonnes sent to recyclers a month with about 40 televisions in a tonne.
These figures are expected to increase dramatically now the service is being offered for free.
Mitchell Resource Management Centre site supervisor Doug Bailey told The Canberra Times earlier this month that the station was expecting tens of thousands of TV sets to be brought in within weeks of the scheme beginning.
"I don't want to think about it - it's going to be huge," Mr Bailey said."We estimate 40,000 televisions in the first few weeks.
"And then about 300 to 400 televisions a week, maybe more."
Senator Farrell said the televisions will be recycled in an environmentally friendly way.
‘‘Hazardous materials contained in these products, including lead, mercury and zinc, will be prevented from entering the environment through landfill. Valuable non-renewable resources, including gold and other precious metals will also be reclaimed for reuse,’’ Senator Farrell said.
Services under the Scheme will be progressively rolled out across Australia, boosting television and computer recycling rates to 30 per cent in 2012-13 and 80 per cent by 2021-22, providing a long-term solution to television and computer waste.
The scheme is industry-funded, which means the cost of the recycling will be factored in to the price paid up front for recyclable items.
All televisions and computer products, including monitors, laptops, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice and hard drives are covered by the scheme. Mobile phones, microwaves, video recorders, DVD players and radios and stereos will not be accepted.
The commercial threshold has been set at 15 items.