Standard on ewaste protects workers and environment

Issue 37 – April 2012

Businesses and organisations that handle e-waste are strongly encouraged to make submissions on a new Standard. Standards New Zealand Chief Executive, Debbie Chin, says the draft joint Australian-New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 5377 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of electrical and electronic equipment will provide those who handle e-waste with best practice guidelines to process electrical and electronic waste.

'AS/NZS 5377 seeks to provide guidance and specify requirements for the safe and environmentally sound collection, storage, transport, and treatment of e-waste.

'The main objectives of the draft Standard are to protect human health and to protect the environment, whether the e-waste is destined for re-use or recycling purposes. It aims to maximise re-use and material recovery; reduce or eliminate the amount of waste from equipment going to final disposal operations such as landfill; safeguard worker health and minimise harm to the environment.'

Debbie says the list of appliances covered by the draft Standard is comprehensive and ranges from large items like cooling appliances, ovens, washing machines, computers, and freezers through to electric knives, cameras, lamps, sewing machines, and medical devices.

'In an age where technology is constantly improving, the amount of e-waste is growing. It is important that everyone involved in handling e-waste is following safe and environmentally sound procedures.

'It is also significant that other countries' national Standards and industry-developed Standards were drawn on in the development of AS/NZS 5377.'

Published in business and ICT.