E-Waste Product Stewardship – New Zealand
Collaboration is key
TechCollect New Zealand has the right mix of experience, expertise and industry support to enhance the country’s e-waste management system and recommend fit-for-purpose regulated product stewardship options for e-waste.
We are big believers in the benefits of product stewardship, especially for products and materials that pose a real threat to our environment and the well-being of those managing these products throughout their life-cycle.
We aim to engage broadly throughout the project to ensure all interested and potentially impacted parties are well represented and can provide valuable input into a system-wide solution that will work best in our backyard.
We want to work in a collaborative way with those who can make the greatest impact and will be guided by principles of a circular economy to get the most out of our e-waste; benefiting kiwis and the kiwi-economy.
Frequently asked questions
In Australia for example, the cost of a mandatory e-waste scheme is estimated to be between $1.55 and $1.85 for an e-waste unit size equivalent product of 0.75 kilograms
- This means that for less than a cup of coffee, we can make sure that e-waste is managed responsibly and, in a way, where valuable materials are recovered and retained for the benefit of local support chains
- The reality is that recycling costs change across different products depending on a number of factors including, the value of embedded resources and the capability of NZ e-waste management sector to access these for recovery – we will explore these elements in detail throughout our investigations; leading to fit-for-purpose recommendations in the NZ context
- The objective of our project is to recommend a product stewardship model to the New Zealand Government to inform a cost benefit analysis and further consultation before drafting any legislation
E-waste can be described simply as any device that requires a plug or battery to operate, including batteries
- This is a broad scope of products that will require a considered approach across the identified product impacts and/or associated market failures at present
- A key part of our project will be to understand the capacity of the recycling market to determine which products can be recycled in NZ to help determine which products should be recommended for mandatory product stewardship
It is important to note that our project will investigate product stewardship options for small batteries, while the Battery Industry Group (B.I.G.) have been funded to support the design of a ‘circular’ product stewardship scheme for large batteries
- The B.I.G. project will make recommendations to the NZ Government on how large batteries may be tracked through their life cycle, who is responsible for them at each stage, and how to ensure that they are managed responsibly and put to the highest value use at each stage
- All products recovered for recycling through the TCNZ pilot program will be recycled locally in NZ
- The current scope of products accepted through the program includes:
- Personal and laptop computers and all cables
- Tablets, notebooks and palmtops
- Computer monitors and parts (e.g. internal hard drives and CD drives)
- Computer peripherals and accessories (e.g. mice, keyboards, web cameras, USBs and modems)
- Printers, faxes, scanners and multi-functional devices
- Cameras and video cameras
- As part of the project we will expand our collection network, as well as our collection and recycling service partners who meet TCNZ’s high standards of operation
- Once first stage recycling activities are performed in NZ to recover commodities (e.g. metals, plastic, glass, PCBs), some commodities are processed into new products in NZ. TechCollect NZ aims to reprocess as much material in NZ as possible, however, some components are reprocessed overseas.
- Metals: all processed in NZ
- Non-leaded glass: processed in NZ
- Printer and computer plastic: sorted into polymer type, granulated and then exported to Malaysia (although HIPS from cartridges and maybe printers may be processed in China)
- PCBs: go to Japan
- Lithium batteries: South Korea (or they may go to Envirostream now).
- CRT and flat screen monitors: go to Abilities group in Auckland. Plastic goes to Malaysia. Leaded glass goes to Nyrstar. Metals, clean glass and mercury tubes are processed in NZ. PCBs go to Japan.
- In Australia, the Australian Council of Recyclers has estimated that for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, approximately 9.2 full time jobs are created. For the same amount of waste managed in landfill, only 2.8 full time jobs are created.
TCNZ supports sensible product stewardship interventions that align with NZ’s waste management hierarchy i.e. re-use before recycling wherever possible, and those that place a heightened focus around waste avoidance
- We will be exploring what role re-use initiatives can play in a regulatory product stewardship scheme and will be including recommendations to the NZ Government around this
- Product repair and re-use provides a number of benefits within the interest of national supply chains such as retaining valuable resources locally and creating local skill-based jobs. This will also be a key driver in propelling a more circular and lower-carbon economy in NZ.
- We will work with a range of collection partners to see how we can provide e-waste services for all e-waste in different regions across NZ
- Other products not covered by our program i.e. non-ICT equipment, will require additional funding and we will be exploring the most cost-effective options across the country to ensure our partners can support their communities with safe and responsible recovery and treatment systems
- When it comes to batteries, we will be investigating suitable product stewardship options for small handheld batteries in New Zealand, while the Battery Industry Group are tasked with developing product stewardship recommendations for large batteries – please use this link to learn more about the Battery Industry Group and their circular product stewardship approach for large batteries
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