How to make a submission to review the Product Stewardship Act

Product Stewardship is the process where manufacturers and sellers take responsibility for what they sell by taking into account the environmental impact from the products,  packaging and substances contained in them. The Product Stewardship Act is federal legislation that provides the framework to support this.

Plastic microbeads and products containing them, batteries, photovoltaic systems, e-waste (televisions and computers) and plastic oil containers are included in the scheme. This needs to be extended to include more products and even more importantly greater accountability for environmental considerations in product design. As a consumer who is conscious about the waste you create, this is where you come in.

There are 4 steps to make a submission.
For each step you can choose one or more points to list. You can make a succinct point in a few sentences. Or you can make it as long as you like, whatever you feel comfortable with writing is fine.

This is a template to guide you. If you want more information about the Product Stewardship Act review, here is a link to the consultation paper which you may want to read if  you want more information, or  for those who want to make a more detailed submission.

How do I write this submission?
It’s up to you, write in the style that you are most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong. This is your chance give the Federal Government your input. You can list a few points or say as much as you like, there is no word limit. Here are a few examples to help:

Style A) Succinct
Cigarette butts are littered everywhere so should be regulated, or,
Plastic straws should be banned

Style B)  Suggest a practical solution or refer to existing examples
The pharmaceutical industry needs to be put on notice. So much of their packaging is not recyclable.  While medicines may improve our health, they create a negative impact on the environment, especially with their packaging and it doesn’t have to be this way. For example, the components of inhalers can be recycled in the UK http://uk.gsk.com/en-gb/responsibility/our-planet/complete-the-cycle and we need to be able to do this in Australia. Medication should be in recyclable materials where possible.

Style C) Explanatory and a little creative
Cigarette butts are a highly littered product, they are an environmental nightmare. This can be resolved by mandating that butts are to be returned via a butt deposit scheme (in line with the container deposit scheme). To purchase more cigarettes, butts would need to be returned or exchanged to ensure they do not end up in the environment.  Perhaps a National Cigarette Register (NCR) could be established and anyone who does not return their cigarette butts through the national butt deposit scheme will be fined and ordered to pick up litter until there are no more cigarette butts, straws or plastic to be found in beaches, parks or in the guts of wildlife.

OK, we don’t think the government will sign off on this, as it stands – but there is no harm getting it out there. Realistically you might have more practical solutions that could make a difference, and it’s worth getting that thought out there!

Have fun with it and tell the government exactly what you think and how you feel.

Step 1. State your interest in the review with comments like:

My interest in Product Stewardship and the outcomes are…

  • because of Australia’s increasing demand for more landfill
  • that there is too much waste from single-use items
  • to support my move towards a Zero waste lifestyle
  • my frustration with planned obsolescence and products that can’t be repaired
  • so that we have less detrimental impact on the planet
  • manufacturers and sellers should not be allowed to profit at the expense of the environment
  • I am a member of the public and a conscious consumer etc.

A response in your own words is preferred, because this is a personal submission, so reword or elaborate the points to make this a submission from you.

Step 2. Issues of concern to you

List in your own words that matter most to you. There is no limit to the number of points you can list and the more you add in your own words the better.  Write them in your own style, sentences or point form, it’s up to you.

  • Focus on materials to transition to a circular economy
  • Proceeds from the sale of plastic bags to be directed to an environmental fund, which supports…
  • Products should only be labelled as recyclable, if they can be recycled by everyone in Australia / Target of 100% recycling of packaging – not lip service with recyclable claims / accessible recycling for all Australians
  • Energy to waste by incineration is to be prohibited / excluded / banned / not allowable in product stewardship schemes
  • Products need to be designed for repair / no more planned obsolescence / parts & instruction available for repair
  • Should washing machines have  filtration standards/ regulations to eliminate microfibers
  • National container deposit scheme
  • All business to have a recycling service – hospitality / take away to make this available to the public – their customers
  • Product design for the environment to avoid / reduce / eliminate waste from products & packaging / regulated packaging schemes
  • Support of refillable bottling & packaging schemes
  • Public awareness and transparency – do the public need / want to know what happens to their products once disposed or?

Step 3. Products of concern to you

The products that are of most concern to me that should be considered for inclusion in the Product Stewardship Scheme are:

  • Straws
  • Single-use coffee cups
  • Polystyrene
  • Disposable packaging and cutlery
  • E-waste – electrical goods
  • Balloons / balloon releases
  • Cigarette butts
  • Over packaged beauty products
  • Add any product you like…

You don’t need to cover everything, just list the products that you think matter most or that should be prioritized for change. If you would like more suggestions, than have a look in our facebook group Zero Waste Victoria or in other social media sites.

Product Stewardship Schemes can take years to fully implement so the conversation needs to be started now!

Step 4. To submit, download and fill in the DEE cover sheet then email with your response in a Microsoft Word document or other text-based format to wastepolicy@environment.gov.au

Submission are due by 5:00pm AEST, 29 June 2018

Good luck! Let us know if you need any help.

Zero Waste Victoria

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