I support any move to reduce the leakage of e-waste into the waste stream. As you question (ARN June 3) “How do we legislate who pays for it and how do we charge this fee?"
It is all well and good for the big players to suggest putting a levy on the price of new equipment but frankly this only addresses the issue several years down the track when that equipment reaches the end of its serviceable life. It does not address the issue of the mountains of defunct equipment out in the wild now.
The system also does not appeal to the smaller reseller who may supply white boxes and a range of other equipment. They work in a competitive market and an extra $20 (or so) for recycling a PC is going to hurt. Not to mention the other e-waste – routers, switches, cabling, etc.
The answer is that the consumer, not the manufacturer or reseller needs to pay for this at the time of disposal. The simplest method would be to produce “Recycling Certificates” available from any reseller, online or via a 1800 number which are purchased (probably based on weight rather than individual items or types of equipment) and redeemed with national recyclers that collect and dispose thoughtfully of the equipment.
It may not appeal to all consumers and SMEs but we hope that those with a conscience will see that paying say $1 per kilo is the right thing to do.
Ray Shaw IT JOURNALIST Intermedia Group of Companies and Event Planners Australia