Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy, on August 5, granted a 30-day extension for public comment on proposed regulations regarding extended producer responsibility with regard to the management of waste post the consumer stage of a product’s lifecycle.
Members of the public are invited to submit written representations on, or objections to, the notices to the Minister by August 26.
The extension for comment on the consultation was published in Government Gazette 43556 (Notice No. 817) on July 28.
The aim of the notice is to provide a framework for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of producer responsibility schemes by producers, importers and brand owners in terms of the Waste Management Act.
Its purpose is to ensure the effective and efficient management of identified waste streams and intends to encourage and enable the implementation of chemicals and waste economy and circular economy initiatives.
Creecy has also granted an extension to August 26 for comment on her intention to require the producers of the identified products to implement specified extended producer responsibility measures for their sectors.
These three notices were published in the Government Gazette, 43556 (Notice No. 819) for the consultation on the proposed extended producer responsibility scheme for paper, packaging and some single-use products; Government Gazette 43556 (Notice No. 820) for the consultation on the proposed extended producer responsibility scheme for the lighting sector and Government Gazette 43556 (Notice No. 818) for the consultation on the proposed extended producer responsibility scheme for the electrical and electronic equipment sector.
The invitation for comments follows the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ announcement in December 2019 that it intended to explore the development of the extended producer responsibility framework.
In terms of the regulations being implemented, producers or a class of producers, including brand owners, are required to set up procedures, processes and invest resources to implement the extended producer responsibility measures with regard to the management of waste generated by their industries.
This extends to the waste that results from the end-of-use of products by consumers, such as light bulbs and solar panels, single-use plastics, plastic garden equipment, toys and plastic boards, and television screens, batteries, fridges and toasters.
As per the regulations, producers of items that will generate waste are now required to develop and implement an extended producer responsibility scheme, and to prepare and submit an extended producer responsibility scheme to Creecy.
Product responsibility organisations are also required to prepare and submit extended producer responsibility schemes to the Minister.
In addition, new producers can either prepare and submit an extended producer responsibility scheme to the Minister within six months of commencing operations or subscribe to an existing extended producer responsibility scheme within three months of starting operations.