Australia: Going the Circular Economy Way!

Waste management from Solar panels

Solar energy, touted as being the big savior, comes with its own lingering challenges. Waste management from Solar panels is one major crisis foretold.

If the scientific oracle is to be believed, by 2050, the world will see truckloads of waste solar panels are batteries thrown away to be dealt with.

Alternate clean energy is researched on daily basis, and solutions with paradigm shifts are the focus in Australia. Solar Energy continues to be adopted everyday by, individuals and small and large set ups.  An adjunct to this solution is that the panels and battery cost that keeps increasing. There is another issue which will soon surface. The shelf life of the solar panels glaring on rooftops and batteries doesn’t exceed 20 years. 20 years in the future Australia will face an acute challenge, how to dispose off or recycle these panels and batteries that are potentially hazardous to the environment.

Australia is still on a look out to finding effective ways to deal with simple waste like plastic and cardboard. A huge part of Australia’s scrap metal waste is sold overseas due to lack of initiative and innovative domestic methods. Leaving this serious lag behind, there is a need for the country to upscale and accelerate its practices to tackle with this.

Circular Economy is one answer to this looming question. Recycling solar panels and batteries to provide a new scope for their usage can help chances. Refurbishing, restoring and reinventing these items is the way to go. Australia’s Product Stewardship Act, works towards people sharing responsibility and taking ownership of these products and reversing their effects. In 2016, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems were added to the list of products here for a scheme design. Under this act, the producers, manufacturers, sellers and buyers of the products, in this case PV will look at ways of channelizing waste to convert them. These products will get a new lease of life and prove to be cost effective for the Australian economy. 2020 will see the beginning of this plan.

Sustainability Victoria, an initiative of the State government and supporting states is leading a national investigation into a system of shared responsibility for end-of-life solar photovoltaic systems in Australia. One of the firsts and many to refocus the resources.