The release of a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report commissioned by TechCollect NZ clearly and concisely demonstrates the need for, and benefits of, responsible e-waste management and recycling in Aotearoa.
The LCA examined the environmental impacts and benefits associated with recycling e-waste items managed by the TechCollect NZ pilot programme via its network of free drop-off locations across Aotearoa. Michael Dudley, Senior Policy Manager for TechCollect NZ comments, “Our pilot programme has broken down some of the biggest barriers obstructing greater e-waste recovery and recycling in Aotearoa right now; namely cost and convenience. TechCollect NZ’s national network of drop-off locations provides Kiwi households and small businesses with a no cost service to dispose of their unwanted and end-of-life ICT equipment safely and responsibly. The LCA has helped to quantify and communicate the benefits of the pilot programme in a way that everyone can relate to.”
One of the standout findings of the LCA relates to the benefits of undertaking e-waste recycling activities locally. Dudley says, “Aotearoa has a very green energy grid compared with offshore markets such as Australia which are more reliant on fossil fuels for their energy generation mix. This means recycling e-waste in New Zealand contributes far less to CO2 emissions than processing e-waste overseas. Also, by investing in New Zealand’s recycling infrastructure and capabilities we can capture as much value from the recovered materials as possible and stimulate local economic activity that will benefit the people of Aotearoa.”
The benefits to the environment and eco-systems of Aotearoa
According to the report, each tonne of e-waste processed by TechCollect NZ’s pilot programme prevents 2,052 kilograms of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to planting 30 trees. Since its inception, the pilot programme has processed over 185 tonnes of e-waste which equates to more than 5,500 new trees planted.
“I hope these impressive outcomes will motivate more Kiwi households and small businesses to use our free service and will lead to positive behaviour change where we don’t see our e-waste, or the critical raw materials contained within, illegally dumped or sent to landfill so quickly.”
The Recycling Group
“Our programme partners at the Recycling Group have obviously had a major part to play with these outcomes and this is why TechCollect NZ has chosen to work with the Recycling Group as one of the standout market leaders in New Zealand’s e-waste sector.”
“The Recycling Group can achieve some of – if not the – best e-plastic treatment outcomes in the country and have methodical processes to separate and treat individual polymer grades so they can feed back into production cycles.”
“I would like to personally thank the many communities, groups and individuals who have helped drive the successful outcomes we’ve achieved; especially our members, programme partners and the Ministry for the Environment. TechCollect NZ’s pilot programme is a blueprint for the future and something that we desperately need to scale as fast as we can to rise to Aotearoa’s growing e-waste challenge. Also, to seize the many opportunities presented by changing the way we think about e-waste (as a rich source of resources) and acting to make the most out of them for as long as possible.”