Product stewardship is about taking responsibility for the things you make throughout their entire life cycle of a product. In Australia, and internationally, product stewardship has been adopted to manage the impacts of different products and materials. MobileMuster is a perfect example. It's an initiative that's voluntarily funded and supported by the mobile phone industry, to give Australians a free way of ensuring their old mobiles and accessories are safely, securely and ethically recycled at the end of their useful lives.
Product Stewardship Act 2011
The Product Stewardship Act 2011 came into effect on 8 August 2011 and provides a framework to effectively address the environmental, health and safety impacts of a product or material across its full lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal. The Act recognises that each product, material and industry is unique thus allowing for regulated, co-regulated and voluntary arrangements.
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) applied for accreditation of MobileMuster as a voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Federal Government’s Product Stewardship Act in November 2013. As part of the accreditation process MobileMuster has been independently audited and accessed to ensure that the program is well positioned for future success under the scheme. Accreditation was granted in May 2014. For more information on the Government Product Stewardship arrangements visit their website.
Voluntary Product Stewardship
Voluntary product stewardship encourages product stewardship without the need for regulation and provides the community with certainty that accredited schemes are actually achieving what they claim. Product stewardship organisations that are accredited under the Australian legislation must meet specific requirements that ensure they carry out their activities in a transparent and accountable manner.
As part of the accreditation, MobileMuster and its members have committed to increase available collection rates of mobile phones from 50 to 55 per cent and volumes from 87 tonnes to 127 tonnes per year over the next 5 years as well as increase consumer and industry engagement.
The mobile phone industry is constantly working to reduce the environmental and human health impacts of their products, across their entire lifecycles. This includes:
- Improving how efficiently resources are used in the production of mobile phones.
- Ensuring that mobiles collected are recycled to the highest environmental standards.
- Minimising waste in the manufacture, production, use and disposal of mobiles and accessories.
- Reducing risk to human health through better management of product manufacturing and disposal (e.g. ensuring safe work environments).