AllWaste manager Mark McKone stands at the Queenstown Refuse Station beside the latest collection of household e-waste saved from the landfill and awaiting collection for responsible e-cycling. Photo by James Beech.
The electronic waste recycling initiative at the Queenstown
Refuse Station has not resulted in an increase in deposits of
unwanted consumer gadgets after new purchases and upgrades at
The collection point at the station in Glenda Dr last week
was holding about 70 items, Wanaka Wastebusters having made
its latest collection from the station 10 weeks earlier.
The company sorts, grades and packs e-waste for separation
and dismantling at the RCN e-Cycle centres in Christchurch,
Wellington, Auckland and overseas.
E-waste is the fastest-growing type of refuse in the world
and amounts to an estimated 80,000 tonnes every year in New
Electronic equipment contains toxic heavy metals and
hazardous materials which can pose an environmental risk if
dumped in landfill.
Electronic equipment also contains copper, platinum and gold,
which can only be recovered by recycling.
AllWaste manager Mark McKone, of Queenstown, said the latest
haul was fairly typical in terms of volume and variety,
although it was heartening to see half the deposited e-waste
consisted of bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) television sets.
TVs cost the owner more to deposit for e-cycling than some
other items because the value of the material which can be
recovered is less than the cost of transport and recycling.
The rest was made up of out-of-date laptops and computer
monitors and peripherals, Mr McKone said.
''We're getting an average of 15% to 20% of e-waste diverted
from landfill. It was higher when the Government had its TV
Takeback scheme, but as a rule, about 20%.
''The only way to encourage more people to e-cycle is to make
it cheaper for people to do it, but that's not likely to
happen because a lot of the products have to go offshore and
there are costs involved with that.
''It's unfortunately cheaper to dispose in a landfill in the
short term, but in the long term it can have adverse
The responsible deposit of desktop computers, laptops and
office servers for e-cycling costs $5 per item. Toasters,
kettles and blenders cost $6, while DVD and video cassette
players and stereo systems cost $7.
An LCD monitor costs $12, a CRT monitor $15, a CRT, LCD or
plasma TV $25 and a printer, fax machine or microwave $12.
A washing machine costs $29, a small-to-medium-sized
photocopier $46 and a large photocopier $69. Cellphones are
free to e-cycle.