Fee hike means e-Cycle depots no longer accept old TVs

RCN e-Cycle depots in Queenstown and Wanaka stopped recycling cathode ray tube televisions and monitors last week.

Wanaka Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts said the decision was taken because the user-pays charge for TVs recycled by RCN E-Waste was going up to $40.

''Currently we're charging $25, which we see as the upper price that people are willing and able to pay when they come to a recycling centre or transfer station,'' Ms Coutts said.

''We don't think it's reasonable to expect our community to pay $40 to recycle a TV at the end of its life.

''I also don't want to put my staff in a position where they have to take a lot of flak over the $40 price tag.''

A total of 2575 TVs and monitors from Wanaka and 1114 from Queenstown have been recycled over the past three years.

''That's a massive amount of electronic waste diverted from the Victoria Flats landfill,'' Ms Coutts said.

''Our community has really made the most of the opportunity to get all those old TVs out of the garage so they can be properly recycled.''

CRT TVs and monitors are bulky, heavy items that are expensive to transport and recycle.

Critically, they contain few materials of value to offset their high recycling costs, unlike computer towers and laptops.

The processing partner for the RCN e-Cycle network, RCN E-Waste, is faced with a backlog of TVs from TV Takeback that they cannot afford to process under the current contract price.

Ms Coutts said Lakes district residents should hang on to their old TVs and CRT monitors until a viable long-term recycling scheme is in place.

People will still be able to recycle all other electronic waste at the Wanaka and Queenstown RCN e-Cycle depots (located at Wanaka Wastebusters and the Frankton transfer station), including computer towers, laptops, flat-screen monitors, cables and printers.