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Camera recycling on the agenda

July 21, 2011: Tim Gledhill, instigator of the Camera Recycle Australia initiative (and managing director of Nittram Photographic Services) contributed the following response to Photo Counters story last week on Product Stewardship Australia and the lack of initiatives on camera recycling:

It is with a great deal of interest that I read your article dated July 13, 2011 titled ‘Recycling scheme excludes digital cameras – for now’, and more specifically your comments.

You may recall an important initiative; CameraRecycle Australia was launched by Nittram Photographics at the PMA 2010 Digital Life Expo.

(Show organisers PMA and PICA provided Camera Recycle Australia with space at the show to help launch the program in 2010 – Ed.)

CameraRecycle Australia is alive and well! This voluntary eco-friendly recycling programme for old, unwanted and broken cameras and accessories, from its humble beginnings just over 12-months ago now has over 70 stores Australia wide participating and benefiting from this program.

These retailers have been set up as Recycle Points allowing consumers to bring their old, unwanted and broken cameras into their stores and simply deposit them in a recycle box. Once full, this box is returned to Camera Recycle Australia for reuse and recycling.

You say in your comments, ‘If only the Photo Imaging Council of Australia had the energy and vision to do something similar via photo retailing outlets.’ We concur with this comment; however whenever we have discussed this initiative in the past with industry bodies PMA and PICA we received very little interest and certainly no industry support. This aside, we as a leading camera repair and servicing company wanted to do something extremely positive for the community and for the environment. We wanted to contribute to the bigger outcome, and get specialty photographic stores involvement Australia wide.

The crazy thing is, it costs retailers nothing, nil, participate! They simply register to become a Recycle Point and receive a full complimentary package of materials including recycle boxes, pre-paid mailing stickers, posters and Frequently Asked Question information sheets to assist and inform all staff in-store about the recycling initiative. We fund this for them! Stores can also benefit from free publicity in their local community by raising the awareness of their store as a CameraRecycle Australia Recycle Point.

Again we also concur with your comment ‘It would give us something positive to tell consumers, and couldn’t hurt foot traffic into stores – clearly in the doldrums of late.’ We have heard from many of the participating retailers telling us stories of the commercial benefits they have derived from this initiative as a result of building new and stronger relationships with customers. It’s creating goodwill and in some cases some unexpected additional sales for stores!

As a voluntary recycling initiative, we have to fund this entirely ourselves; a shame, but it can be done! We must say on occasions we have been a little slow on responding to retailers requests, however most retailers understand we are totally doing this off our own backs, and at our own expense, and accept this and work closely with us.

We are sure, with the blueprint in place, with some industry backing and support from PMA and PICA, we can turn this into an industry wide initiative that we can all be proud of. You can find full details at our website,

– Photo Counter has brought the Camera Recycle Australia initiative to the attention of both Peter Rose, director, Australian activities, PMAI and Paul Curtis, executive director, PICA, suggesting to both that this is something unequivocally positive for the industry as a whole to get behind.

Both responded somewhat positively.

‘As far as PICA is concerned, to my knowledge it has never been approached by Nittram Photographic Services,’ wrote Paul Curtis. ‘It sounds an interesting business initiative and I would certainly be interested in hearing from them if they chose to contact us.’

Peter Rose noted the initial provision of exhibition space for Camera Recycle Australia, agreeing that it was something worthy of further support:

‘I have asked Tim to call me to see how we might best be able to assist,’ said Mr Rose.

‘PMA/PICA provided support for the launch of this concept at the 2010 show. PMA is certainly willing to continue promoting this idea through its members as well as suggesting to PICA that their members promote the idea through their organisations .

‘The very successful program (now discontinued),of recycling of single use cameras was heavily supported by PMA and its members .

‘Further details will follow as to how else we may be able to assist.’

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