What is the E-waste recycling standard AS 5377?
The E-waste standard published in 2013 (AS/NZS 5377) is a joint Australian and New Zealand Standard which was written to guide companies who collect, store, transport and treat waste from end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment. It is intended to describe the minimum requirements for businesses handling e-waste safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.
The aim is to maximise the amount of re-use and recovery of material and to reduce or eliminate the amount of e-waste going to landfill as well as protect workers’ health and safety and prevent hazardous materials entering the environment.
The standard categorises e-waste into different types such as:
- large household appliances
- small household appliances
- information technology and telecommunications
- telecommunication carrier and commercial equipment
- consumer equipment
- electrical and electronic tools
- toys, leisure and sports equipment
- automatic dispensers; lighting equipment
- medical devices
- monitoring and controlling instruments.
It then specifically describes how to safely handle and dispose each type of electronic waste.
It also describes how workers need to be trained around e-waste handling and how signage, for example, should be displayed for maximum efficacy and safety.
AS 5377 also stipulates the methodology to calculate and track waste, so that the volume of electronic products entering the waste stream each year can be calculated as can the volume of recovered materials resulting from the e-waste being recycled.
Why should my company be interested in AS 5377 E-waste certification?
The current Australian Federal government has recently legislated that from 1 July 2016, the recycling of television or computer products in Australia must be done by “recyclers and facilities certified to and in compliance with the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 5377:2013”.
While initial focus is on end-of-life TVs and computers there are also indications that the scope of this legislation will be expanded to include other electronic goods in the near future.
As such, companies who wish to continue working in this space need to take action to achieve certification to this standard as soon as possible, in order to achieve or maintain preferred supplier status.
Who is E-waste certification suitable for?
E-waste certification is recommended for all businesses involved in the transport, recycling, recovery and disposal of electronic waste.
Companies who currently work with end-of-life electrical or electronic equipment other than TVs and computers will benefit by taking a proactive approach ahead of their competitors and making a start on achieving compliance (the first step to achieving certification) to this standard soon.
What are the benefits of E-waste certification?
The benefits of the AS 5377 e-waste standard to your business include:
- Your processes will become more efficient- saving you both time and money.
- You will have access to best practice e-waste management guidance.
- You can be reassured that you are meeting regulatory requirements and reducing hazards associated with e-waste and eliminate the risk of fines.
When your e-waste business receives certification to AS 5377 E-waste the benefits are:
- A competitive edge in business- especially if you are in the first wave of businesses to commence the process. Based on experience, many businesses will leave this process too late and miss out; leaving the remainder with the lion’s share of the work or allowing newcomers into the market.
- Recognition as a leader in your industry
- Potential reduction in insurance premiums.
- Your company becomes more appealing to potential investors and trade partners.
- Boosts your company brand.
What is involved in getting E-waste certified? (AS 5377)
AS 5377 is not a management system standard like ISO 9001 which gives general guidance about how to run your business. It is a highly technical standard which specifies in great detail how particular activities in the e-waste business are to be carried out to meet the requirements.
The four activities are:
- Requirements for collection and storage facilities–Section 2
- Recovery for reuse from end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment – Section 3
- Requirements for transportation – Section 4
- Requirements for the treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment – Section 5.
Businesses need to be certified to only and all those areas that apply.
- The first stage is to purchase the standard: Click here to go to SAI Global store.
- Then read the sections of the standard carefully. You only need to meet the requirements of the sections that apply to your business.
For example, if you only transport E-waste- you don’t need to worry about the recycling or recovery sections.
- Setting up the system- The hardest part is to set up the processes as per the guidelines- as they apply to your particular business and to develop the required evidence (that’s very important) to show compliance to the standard. A “paper trail” of some kind (paper or electronic) becomes essential for this purpose.
NB Developing this system and training up staff normally takes at least 3-6 months.
- The next step is to seek certification to the standard from a registered Certification Body. At the time of writing there are only a couple. This therefore needs to be booked 2-3 months ahead to ensure you get your certificate in the desired timeframe. Once you contact the certification body, you will need to complete an application and your audit length will be determined by the number of processes and sites required to be audited.
- The audit process involves the auditor visiting your site and assessing your products and processes against the specific requirements of the standard- always looking for evidence of requirements being met.
- Once your audit is complete and you have successfully met the requirements of the E-waste standard, you will receive your certification within 2-3 weeks.
When should you take action?
In a word – now!
With a short timeline to achieve certification (Jun 2016) it is vital that companies start now to allow at least 6 months to achieve this certification.
Be the first in your industry to take action, and your company will stand out as the business to go to.
Why choose Integrated Compliance Solutions to help you achieve certification?
Integrated Compliance Solutions are committed to supporting companies intending to meet Australian Standards and become ISO compliant. We have a team of trained E-waste specialists at hand to help you get your system ready. We understand the requirements and because we are helping many companies, we have shortcuts available to help you get a result quicker and with less pain.
We can develop the processes for you, train your staff and maintain your system or you over time if your require it.
Save time and money by choosing Integrated Compliance Solutions to guide you to E-waste certification.
Call us on 1300 651 990 or contact us via our website and we will help you prepare your business for certification.