According to the EPA Annual Report 2013-14, 0.7 tonnes of waste was disposed of per person per year in Tasmania, including waste from the municipal, commercial and industrial, construction and demolition, and controlled waste streams
An important response to the large amounts of waste being generated is to pursue product stewardship, whereby manufacturers, importers, governments and consumers share the responsibility for the environmental impacts of a product throughout its full life cycle. The full life cycle includes production, handling, purchasing, use and disposal. Examples of product stewardship include re-designing products, implementing recycling schemes and limiting the use of hazardous materials. One role of Government is to ensure that manufacturers and importers keep 'on track' in their product stewardship efforts.
As such, the Australian Parliament passed the Product Stewardship Bill 2011, landmark legislation that will reduce waste, increase recycling, and manage the environmental, health and safety impacts of products. The passage of the Bill (in August 2011) delivers on a key commitment by the Australian Government under the National Waste Policy which was agreed by State and Territory governments in November 2009 and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in August 2010.
The Bill provides for a flexible and practical approach to product stewardship by recognising that each material, product and industry is unique. The framework includes voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory product stewardship.
It allows for different products and materials to be included over time as the need may arise, to keep up to date with Australia’s international obligations on managing certain types of waste and our increasing knowledge of the hazard of certain products. Each year a list will be published indicating products being considered for coverage by the legislation.
So far, the Australian Government is working on various product stewardship schemes, including electronic waste, mercury containing lamps, packaging materials and waste tyres.