Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Senator Stephen Conroy

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

Television recycling free of charge

Joint media release
4 November 2010

People in regional South Australia and Broken Hill will be able to drop off their broken and obsolete TVs free of charge under an initiative sponsored by the Australian, South Australian and New South Wales Governments.

Regional South Australia and Broken Hill will switch over to digital TV on 15 December 2010.

All free-to-air television broadcasters in Australia will complete the switch from analog transmission to digital-only transmission by the end of 2013. Digital television will provide the benefits of improved picture and sound quality and greater program choice.

Over the coming weeks all councils in regional SA and Broken Hill will be inviting their local communities to drop off their obsolete and broken televisions for recycling between December 2010 and mid February 2011.

Senator Conroy said to receive the full suite of free-to-air channels after the digital switchover, viewers need to connect to a high definition set top box.

"In most cases people won't have to buy a new TV because virtually all current analog TVs will be able to receive digital TV by adding a digital set top box," Senator Conroy said.

This initiative is the beginning of a landmark television and computer recycling scheme that will see a national, industry-led effort to recycle 80 per cent of all TVs and computer equipment by 2021, Environment Minister Tony Burke said.

"But until the scheme is up and running we want to make sure people switching to digital television services early in regional areas have a way of responsibly dealing with any television waste," Mr Burke said.

"Ordinary household items like tvs can become quite dangerous to the environment when they're added to landfill. We need to find a smarter way for dealing with old electronic equipment than just sending it to the tip."

The industry-run National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme will be underpinned by Commonwealth Product Stewardship legislation. The legislation is a key plank of the National Waste Policy agreed by all environment ministers late last year.

The passage of the Commonwealth legislation and subsequent roll-out of the Television and Computer Recycling Scheme will be in time for the commencement of the switchover to digital in most of Australia.

"It is important that governments continue to work together as we prepare for the TV and computer recycling scheme as we push towards our goal of less waste and more resources," Mr Burke said.

Australia produced 43,777,000 tonnes of waste in 2006-07 a 31 per cent increase in five years and with waste levels projected to continue to grow, national leadership in this critical issue was overdue.

Through the national waste policy we have a clear path for future action and a huge step up on existing efforts.

Electronic waste is among to first areas of waste to be addressed.

"As we head into National Recycling Week next week, I encourage all Australians to recycle and reuse, in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment and build a more sustainable Australia," Mr Burke said.

For information on the switchover to digital television call 1800 20 10 13 or visit: