Computers and televisions will be the first products regulated as part of a national recycling scheme endorsed by state and federal environment ministers.
Federal environment minister, Peter Garrett, said in a statement that the new "industry-run national collection and recycling scheme" will be up and running in or before 2011.
“Under the new product stewardship scheme, 80 per cent of all TVs and computers are expected to be recycled by 2021,’’ Garrett said.
In May, Garrett gave the nod to the national e-waste recycling at a conference of state and federal environment ministers in Tasmania.
Earlier that month, industry groups signed a charter presented at the Environmental Protection and Heritage Council meeting to push a national e-waste recycling scheme.
As part of the project, householders will be "able to drop off used computers and TVs for recycling free of charge", Garret said in the statement.
The endorsement of the recycling scheme, which also includes used tyres and a 10-year framework, occurred at a meeting of the environment ministers in Perth.
“The National Waste policy specifically provides for accreditation of industry-led schemes, helping to strengthen the arm of industry leaders who want to drive action that sees manufacturers take responsibility for their products when they reach the end of their life," Garrett said.
“Computer and television importers and manufacturers are working with government to take responsibility for their goods, from cradle to grave.’’
The government has also given a commitment to ensure non-participating organisations comply with the same standards as those voluntarily taking part and said free-riders will be "unable to gain a financial advantage over those companies that willingly contribute to recycling their own products".
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) already runs a recycling program in Victoria called Byteback while Planet Ark also has a website that aims to help people find similar programs in other regions.