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Electrical and Electronic Products Infrastructure Facilitation

Prepared in association with Centre for Design at RMIT and Product Ecology Pty Ltd
Department of the Environment and Heritage, January, 2004

8. Industry Responses

8.1 Survey Responses

A survey was sent out after the completion of the stakeholder workshop, mainly to obtain the opinion of members who were unable to attend the workshop. 76 surveys were sent out to the stakeholders with 19 responses. A summary of all survey responses is included in Appendix E of this report. The rankings of criteria and options through this survey was considered alongside the views expressed at the stakeholder workshop, the community focus group and in general consultation.

8.1.1 Collection Options

There was strong support for the following collection options:

It was considered essential that collection methods met the following criteria:

8.1.2 Reprocessing Options

There was strong support for the following reprocessing options:

It was considered an essential criterion that reprocessing options met the following criteria:

8.1.3 Funding Options

There was strong support for the following funding options:

It was considered essential that funding options met the following criteria:

8.1.4 Management Options

There was strong support for the following management options:

It was considered essential that management options met the following criteria:

8.1.5 Policy Options

There was strong support for the following policy options:

It was considered essential that policy options met the following criteria:

8.2 Focus Group

The main objective of the focus group was to test consumer acceptability of a range of collection and funding options for used TVs and computers. The options tested were similar to those discussed at the stakeholder workshop.

8.2.1 Collection Options

In all options, people continually brought up the issue of the perceived value of old appliances (even those non-functioning), and especially their reluctance to drop off especially working TVs or PCs without payment. They expressed their preference to store or give away working TVs and PCs to friends, relatives or charity shops.

Table 8.1 Collection options
Collection option explored General comments from focus group
Kerbside collection Most popular method of disposal now - most had put an old TV or PC on kerbside. Suggested "scavengers" usually picked them up. Not considered for adding to kerbside recycling collection.
Council hard waste collection Most knew of these and did use them, and would continue to use them.
Council at call collection Would use but needed to be well promoted by councils.
Regular drop-off points General acceptance of idea. Most knew of transfer stations as drop-off points, some had used them. Need to be well promoted, e.g. radio, TV, council newsletters, leaflets.
Special drop-off collection days Some familiarity with special drop-off days - used for batteries and paint. Once again would need to be well promoted.
Take-back when new product delivered Popular option. Also good for people living up stairs, especially for large TVs. Acknowledged that end of life usually did not coincide with new purchase.
Return to retailer Popular option even without a 'trade-in' offered. Referred to difficulty of handling large TVs.
Take to charities Popular. Most said charities wanted these items and it made them feel good.

8.2.2 Payment Options

There was a great reluctance to pay anything for disposal. Participants kept expressing their expectation that used TVs and PCs "should have some value", and that they should be paid for them, especially when working - "It has to have a trade-in value. It has to be worth something".

Table 8.2 Summary of payment options
Payment option explored General comments from group
Up front fee on purchase of new product No current support for this, whether a visible or invisible fee.
Fee to drop-off product Little support; one participant was prepared to pay a fee, but only $5.
Collection fee Little support. One prepared to pay a collection fee, but only $5 to $10.
Increase in rates to cover collection costs Discussed but not supported.
Covered from government general revenue (or from GST revenue) This was the only option that was generally supported.

The views of the group show that extensive consumer education is needed to increase awareness of the negative value end-of-life products generally have, and the need to cover the cost of collection and reprocessing in some form.

8.2.3 Promotion and Advertising

The most important issue raised apart from collection options and payments were the questions of promotion or advertising of any scheme(s) introduced. There was general support for the need for good promotion on radio and television, as well as via leaflets, council newsletters and posters and signs.

8.3 Comparison of Focus Group with Melbourne TV Focus Group

(Conducted as part of the 'Beyond the Dead TV' Victorian pilot study)

In terms of collection, the options explored and the responses were fairly similar. The one exception being in relation to use of transfer station as drop-off points. Sydney participants were much more familiar with transfer stations and many used them regularly to drop off paint and batteries.

In terms of payment options, there was a marked difference between responses to payment options. While participants in the Melbourne focus group generally said they would be prepared to pay a fee of between $5 - $20 either built into new product price, or as collection/disposal fee, there was little support for paying any fee in the Sydney group. It is felt that the higher purchase price could result in consumers feeling computers had a higher residual value and shorter life span, and that therefore they have a greater resistance to paying for disposal.