MobileMuster’s Product Stewardship Program Expands Recycling Capabilities

Non-profit organization MobileMuster is expanding its product stewardship program to expand recycling capacity and will now include three new and growing e-waste product streams.

New product streams cover network connectivity (i.e. modems and routers, landline phones, etc.), smart home technology (i.e. smart speakers , smart digital hub displays) and wearables and peripherals (i.e. smartwatches, tracking beacons, VR headsets).

Independent research conducted on behalf of Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) found that for every 1.6 modems in use in Australia, one (1) is in storage and not in use, and for every 2.1 smart devices in use, there is one (1) in storage and not in use.

In total, the AMTA estimates that there are more than 20.1 million devices stored in homes across the country.

“Over the past ten years, the rate of e-waste generated each year in Australia has more than doubled. AMTA and its members support a voluntary approach to product stewardship, and the MobileMuster program has demonstrated how the industry can successfully work together to deliver effective and measurable social and environmental results,” says MobileMuster to manage Spyro Kalos (right picture).

The recent Australia Electronics Stewardship Reportproduced for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, revealed that in 2019, 975,000 tonnes of electronic products entered the Australian market, while 521,000 tonnes of electronic waste were generated, which is equivalent to 20.4 kg of e-waste per inhabitant.

By 2030, about 12 million tons of electronic products will be used, about 12.3 times the amount of products entering the market, while 674,000 tons of electronic waste will be generated, the report added.

On the enlargement, The Honorable Trevor Evans (Photo) The Deputy Deputy Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management applauded MobileMuster’s efforts to expand product stewardship.

“MobileMuster members demonstrate a commitment to sustainable e-waste management from these manufacturers and vendors. Such involvement enhances the reputation of all parties involved and sends a strong signal to consumers that these companies take responsibility for the environmental impacts their products may have if disposed of improperly.

The program is scheduled to launch on July 1, 2022. More companies are expected to join in the coming months. This comes at a good time as AMTA has confirmed that modem maker Technicolor is the first company to confirm its participation in the expanded program.

“Since the launch of our program more than 23 years ago, we have facilitated the collection and recycling of more than 1,600 tons of mobiles and accessories. We have achieved over 95% resource recovery through recycling and 73% mobile phone recycling awareness,” says Kalos.

“We have made mobile phone recycling accessible to all Australians, with 96% of the Australian population within 10km of a MobileMuster recycling site and seek to make recycling more products just as easy and accessible” , Kalos adds.

“With the amount of e-waste lying around in people’s drawers, MobileMuster is looking to change the way Australians view waste more broadly, protect the environment and ensure effective recycling strategies are in place to to meet future industry demand for new products. This expansion shows that we continue to deliver on that promise,” concludes Kalos.

MobileMuster is an industry-led program that is currently funded by all major handset manufacturers and network operators, including optus, willand TPG Telecom (Vodafone). AMTA looks forward to continuing the success of the MobileMuster program through program expansion.

MobileMuster is the only voluntary government-accredited electronics management program in Australia. Managed by AMTA, the organization specializes in e-waste solutions to address the environmental, health and safety impacts of products throughout their life cycle.

This first appeared in the CommsWire subscription newsletter on April 6, 2022.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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