What is Product Stewardship?

Product stewardship acknowledges those involved in designing, manufacturing, and selling products have a responsibility to ensure those products or materials are managed in a way that reduces their environmental and human health impacts, throughout the life-cycle and across the supply chain.

It aims to drive environmentally beneficial outcomes through good design and clean manufacturing, including the use of components and materials that are easier to recover, reuse and recycle.

Product stewardship provides an opportunity for businesses to do more, strive for more, and achieve more.

Schemes, Initiatives and Programs

There are currently eight regulated and one voluntary accredited product stewardship scheme in Australia, plus 18 unaccredited schemes and 13 in development.

Contact the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence if you have a national scheme or program that can be added to this list. Email us at: info@stewardshipexcellence.com.au

Operational

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ChemClear

drumMUSTER

In development

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Battery Stewardship Council

Exitcycle

Regulation and Accreditation

The Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 provides for voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory product stewardship schemes. Voluntary schemes can operate independently of Government, or, apply for accreditation.

Accreditation of Voluntary Schemes

If successfully accredited, schemes can use a government product stewardship logo.

Use of the logo allows schemes to promote the recognition and credibility that comes from government accreditation. This provides an incentive for industry to seek accreditation of their schemes and will provide a basis for consumers to identify accredited voluntary schemes.

Co-regulatory Schemes

The co-regulatory approach uses a combination of industry action and supporting Government regulation to achieve outcomes specified in rules, such as recycling outcomes for products.

Mandatory Product Stewardship

Mandatory product stewardship is used where other types of product stewardship have been considered and found unsuitable, or where mandatory arrangements would deliver greater benefit to the community.

Mandatory rules may require individuals or organisations involved in the life of a product to take actions that relate to the objects of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.

More information on regulation of Product Stewardship is available here.

Ministers Priority Product List

The list is a mechanism by which the Minister for the Environment can communicate to industry which products they are considering regulating under the co-regulatory or mandatory product stewardship provisions of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020. The published list will also detail recommended actions the relevant industries can take to reduce the possibility of future government regulation of such products. Those steps could include voluntary stewardship.

The Centre of Excellence will provide advice to the Minister on list priorities. The list is reviewed and updated at the end of June each year.

The 2020-21 priority product list includes:

  • plastic microbeads (and products that contain them)
  • batteries
  • photovoltaic systems
  • electrical and electronic products
  • plastic oil containers
  • child car safety seats
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