Voluntary product stewardship arrangements

What is Product Stewardship?

Product Stewardship is taking shared responsibility for reducing the environmental, health and safety footprint of manufactured goods and materials across the life cycle of a product, as outlined in the National Waste Policy.

In Australia product stewardship has been adopted to manage the impacts of different products and materials. Voluntary product stewardship can take many forms and may have a focus on a product’s whole lifecycle or focus on fixing a specific problem related to part of a product's lifecycle. More and more, organisations are participating in voluntary product stewardship as part of their environmental or corporate strategies. There are already a number of voluntary product stewardship arrangements being undertaken across Australia achieving real outcomes, such as the collection and recycling of mobile phones, mercury-containing lamps, newspapers and PVC products. Industry has established and operates these arrangements without being required to by regulation.

Product stewardship logo

Accredited Voluntary Product Stewardship Arrangements

Australian Government accreditation of a voluntary product stewardship arrangement provides an avenue for recognising and encouraging excellence in product stewardship. Attaining accreditation communicates to the public that the arrangement has been independently assessed as credible by the Australian Government. Accreditation also provides assurance to the community that voluntary product stewardship arrangements are achieving real and effective outcomes. Accreditation is valid for a five year period.  Accredited product stewardship arrangements are able to use the Product Stewardship logo as an indication of their Australian Government accredited status.

The first round of applications for accreditation of voluntary product stewardship activities was held late in 2013. Two arrangements were accredited by the Australian Government: MobileMuster and FluoroCycle.

MobileMuster

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) holds accreditation of MobileMuster, the official recycling programme of the mobile phone industry. MobileMuster is a voluntary product stewardship arrangement for the collection and recycling of mobile phone components including handsets, batteries and accessories. AMTA will be the administrator of the arrangement, which aims to continue to keep old mobile phones out of landfill and recycle them in a safe, secure and environmentally sound manner.

More information on MobileMuster’s product stewardship activities is available at: http://www.mobilemuster.com.au/

FluoroCycle

The Lighting Council Australia Limited (the Lighting Council) is the representative body of Australia’s lighting industry and is the administrator of the FluoroCycle arrangement. FluoroCycle is a voluntary product stewardship arrangement that seeks to increase the national recycling rate of waste mercury-containing lamps. Signatories to FluoroCycle such as institutions, government agencies, and businesses commit to recycle their mercury-containing lamps. The scheme targets the commercial and industrial sectors where the bulk of waste lamps are generated.

More information on FluoroCycle’s product stewardship activities is available at: http://www.fluorocycle.org.au/

Round 2 for Voluntary Product Stewardship Activity Accreditation

The Department will open a call (Round 2) for accreditation of voluntary product stewardship arrangements towards the end of 2014.

If you or your organisation is interested in applying for accreditation for a voluntary product stewardship arrangement the forms and guidelines for Round 1 are available for your reference. We anticipate updating the guidelines in readiness for Round 2.

The information requested in the accreditation application is intended to enable the Department to assess whether applicants are well positioned for future success as accredited arrangements. Information provided to support applications may include existing documents such as business plans and operational strategies. Additional documentation may be developed specifically for the application and could include feasibility assessments and lifecycle analysis.

Contact for more information

For further assistance please contact the Product Stewardship Regulator on 1800 332 783 or by email psonline@environment.gov.au.

Resources

Application guide cover

Application guide

Sample application form

Financial viability assessment guide

Financial viability assessment template