Spotlight on solar panels in draft drive to recycle and reduce landfill

Published Sunday, 05 March, 2023 at 12:13 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon

  • Queensland will consult on a proposal to ban the dumping of end-of-life solar panels in landfill
  • The Palaszczuk Government will pilot a solar panel recycling scheme led by industry
  • The consultation is part of a draft plan to tackle e-waste across Queensland
  • It builds on a broader $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund that’s driving Queensland’s zero waste transition

Queenslanders are being encouraged to have their say on a proposal to recycle items like solar panels and repair other e-products instead of sending them to landfill, to protect our great lifestyle.

On Clean Up Australia Day, Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon unveiled a draft e-Products plan, targeting electronic waste in Queensland, including solar panels and batteries.

As part of the draft plan, solar panels could be banned from being dumped in landfills within 10 years.

In 2019, solar panel waste accounted for nearly 1,000 tonnes but by 2030 it could account for some 17,000 tonnes.

Alongside the trial, the Palaszczuk Government will initially invest more than $250,000 for a pilot of an industry-led Solar Stewardship Scheme, led by the Smart Energy Council (SEC).

The pilot will involve two stages, with the first stage identifying participants and locations to divert end-of-life solar panels from landfill and recovering their useful materials.

Circular economy specialists The Activ Group will also develop a tracking and information system to log volumes and locations of recovered materials as part of the pilot.

Stage two will see on-ground collection, recovery and recycling of panels, focusing on rooftop installations.

The pilot builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund and broader work to establish a recycling industry in Queensland and divert 80 per cent of waste from landfill by 2030.

The draft e-Products plan, which was co-designed with the eWaste Watch Institute, also includes actions to increase product stewardship, recycling, and the repair of electronic waste through initiatives like repair cafes.

Members of the public, industry and business representatives can now have their say on the draft action plan, which is available at

Feedback can be provided by emailing and consultation will remain open until 5pm on 17 April 2023.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Environment and Science Meaghan Scanlon:

“With the highest rooftop solar penetration in the country, we need to explore how we deal with panels when they reach the end of their life.

“Our Energy and Jobs Plan will deliver even more cheaper, cleaner power – and we want to ensure that this commitment to sustainability carries through our whole economy.

“The draft plan shows that Queensland is serious about dealing with electronic waste and now we want to hear from Queenslanders and industry to make sure we get it right.

“We know that like other forms of e-waste, there is huge potential for parts to be recycled and in some instances repaired instead of ending up in landfill.

“We’ve seen industry is keen to get involved, now it’s just a case of how – which is where the pilot led by the Smart Energy Council and Activ Group comes in.

“The purpose of the project is to help us understand the best way to encourage and incentivise higher quality recovery opportunities to deliver great outcomes, with an initial key focus on regional Queensland.”

Please attribute quotes to Smart Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Wayne Smith:

“The Smart Energy Council is proud to be partnering with the Queensland Government in an industry-led Solar Stewardship Scheme trial,” Mr Smith said.

“The Queensland Government leads the world in embracing solar on homes so it makes sense that it is now leads the nation on solar panel recycling with Australia’s first industry-led solar panel recycling scheme.

“The trial will examine the best ways to address any economic and logistical obstacles preventing the effective collection and disposal of unwanted household solar panels, with an initial focus on regional areas.

“The Smart Energy Council will establish a Solar Stewardship Scheme Consultative Committee, including solar PV manufacturers, distributors, retailers, installers and certificate traders; recycling companies; regulators; local councils and Queensland Government representatives.

“The committee will meet monthly during the trial period to share advice, data and learnings to help inform a possible future Solar Stewardship Scheme.

“Queensland is not only the sunshine state, but it’s also the solar state and soon it will be the solar recycling state.”

Quotes attributable to Planet Ark Power’s CEO Peter Newland:

"As a company that installs solar PV on large commercial and industrial buildings, we welcome this initiative by the Queensland Government. 

“Following hailstorms in Brisbane a couple of years ago we had to send damaged solar panels to Sydney for recycling at a cost of $3000 per pallet. To develop a local recycling industry in a state that has installed more solar panels than any other in Australia is a very welcome addition to the Queensland's clean technology sector and to the development of a circular economy.”


Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz – 0420 592 078