E-waste recycling turns the corner

“The Zero Waste Network is so relieved to hear that electronic waste is finally being declared a priority product,” said Marty Hoffart, Chair of the Zero Waste Network Aotearoa NZ. 

“Mandatory product stewardship is a key step in moving to a circular economy, and starting with electronics was a no-brainer. The average person in NZ produces more than 20 kilograms of e-waste every year, and of the approximately 90,000 tonnes total of e-waste we produce each year, the estimates suggest we recycle less than two percent of that total – a mere 1600 tonnes.” 

“At the moment, most of New Zealand’s electronic waste is going straight to landfill. It’s a bit depressing to think we’ve been digging rare earths and precious metals out of the ground and then throwing them back underground after a limited use.”

“Now those materials will get a chance to be recycled, reused and refurbished to make the next generation of electronic gadgets and reuse existing electronics. At the same time, we’ll be keeping toxic chemicals contained in e-waste out of the ground.”

“Mandatory product stewardship for electronic waste and other harmful waste streams is long overdue in New Zealand.” 

“Producers and consumers benefit from making and using products. Product stewardship schemes can make sure end of life costs are covered upfront. It is fair that users pay the real cost of dealing with end of life objects whether it’s an old computer, a beer bottle or a set of tyres.”

“A lot of work has been done over the years by people from all sorts of organisations to get New Zealand to this point.” 

“There will be smiles on a lot of faces around the country when they hear we have passed this milestone.”

“The Zero Waste Network is looking forward to getting involved in the next stage of the process. The co-design process that will be used to develop a product stewardship scheme for electronic waste will get all the stakeholders involved, so the scheme works for the whole supply and recovery chain.” explained Mr Hoffart.

“The scheme we develop needs to line up with the waste hierarchy so that reuse, repair and refurbishment are prioritised and recycling is closed loop.”