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Are solar panels and batteries contributing to our waste problem?


Professor Rodney Stewart from Griffith University recently told the ABC that while panels are "a relatively small waste stream", it's only because most of the solar panels installed have only been installed in the past decade.

"We have estimates that by 2050 we'll have 1,500 kilotons of solar PV waste being disposed of," he said.

"Some of those, if they're in landfill, could leach into groundwater and get into water systems.

"And these are sometimes rare earth materials or types of materials we want to re-use because the extraction of those minerals in mining is energy-intensive."

Stewart recommends the industry create some authorities to self-regulate and push their members to improve their rates of refurbishment or enabling recycling of components. "And then those free-riders that aren't doing that, that want to just import cheap products that can't be re-furbished or recycled, then they can't play in the space in Australia," he said.

(Source: ABC News)