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WA government renews focus on e-waste

New common use arrangement for government agency ICT disposal in the works

The Western Australia Government is moving to better manage its e-waste through the institution of a new whole of government common use arrangement (CUA) for the disposal of ICT equipment.

The arrangement, managed by the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), will facilitate the disposal of ICT equipment which is either surplus to the Government's requirements or which has reached end-of-life.

The WA government's current common use arrangement for e-waste disposal, 5105, has run since May 2006 and is due to expire on 29 August 2011.

Similar to the existing arrangement, the new CUA will be structured into three different panels grouped via disposal method. These include sale by auction under which contractors auction equipment with commercial value on behalf of the government; donation for community reuse; and the environmental recycling of end-of-life equipment.

Moving to a new arrangement will additionally help the state's government fulfill a number of policies and strategies including The State Supply Commission Disposal of Goods Policy, which requires public authorities to dispose of goods in a manner that is ethical, equitable and efficient.

It will also help the government meet its own draft Waste Strategy which sets out an aim to drive a decade of significant improvement in the management of waste in Western Australia.

The arrangement comes at a time when the ICT industry is stepping up its action around energy efficiency, however, according to services giant CSC, the industry is struggling to come to grips with the proper management of e-waste.

Research director at CSC's Leading Edge Forum, David Moschella, argues that through the relentless focus on energy efficiency the information technology community has seriously mistaken its priorities.

"The flip side of the amazing technological progress that has made the iPhone possible is rapid product obsolescence and ever-rising piles of electronic waste (e-waste), much of it disposed of in either illegal or unethical ways, usually in the developing world," he argues.

"Put simply, Moore's Law, the driving dynamic behind IT innovation for the last 50 years, is fundamentally not green, and perhaps not even sustainable -- at least, not yet."

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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