E-waste trial extended; awareness needed

The six-month trial of the electronic waste depot at Frankton Refuse Station has been extended by another six month, coinciding with a push for greater public awareness of the service.

Wanaka Wastebusters has collected only about 2.08 tons of e-waste from Wakatipu residents since the original trial began in September last year.

The sum contrasts sharply with the 80,000 tonnes of e-waste New Zealanders dump in landfills every year.

Wanaka Wastebusters collects e-waste from the depot on Glenda Dr and combines it with Wanaka, then sends whole batches to Christchurch for further processing in approved recycling plants.

Nationally set fees range from $5 for a laptop or desktop box to $11.50 for a printer, $14 for a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor and $20 for a TV.

Mobile telephones were free to e-cycle, but monitors and TVs cost the most because of the expense of freight and the low value of materials recoverable from them.

However, most owners have been choosing to leave their obsolete technology in the landfill, rather than pay for e-waste to be disposed of correctly.

RCN e-Cycle said there was no law in New Zealand that prevented e-waste being sent to landfills.

Some e-waste materials contain hazardous materials, including mercury, lead and cadmium, which can leach into soil and waterways.

One CRT monitor can contain up to 3kg of lead.

There are an estimated five million CRT TVs and computer monitors in use or stored still awaiting disposal in the country.

The Queenstown scheme has been extended until June 30.


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