This time of year, brings discounts and the temptation to upgrade your tried and true tech. And why not? ‘Tis the season, after all!
But what to do with the “old stuff”?
There are valuable materials inside electronics goods, and New Zealand is developing the capacity to save these items from landfill. There are also dangerous materials, such as lithium-ion batteries, which can cause fires in the rubbish or recycling trucks. So, avoid throwing them in regular kerbside bins.
Specialty recyclers are growing their capacity to take electronic waste in New Zealand since it doesn’t belong in your kerbside bin. There are lots of places eager to get your computer or TV screen, to refurbish and pass on to a small business, school, or charities in need. This helps keep these materials out of landfill and lessens the demand for new rare earth materials.
It's not just phone, tablets and TVs that are accepted, kids’ toys such as toy laptop computers and video games are also recyclable at many e-waste facilities.
Why not make an event of it?
Computer Recycling runs community electronic waste recycling events around Auckland and has already collected 332,304 kgs of e-waste. Keep an eye out for an event in your neighbourhood.
Tech Collect also runs events throughout the region and has drop-off points at the likes of Noel Leeming and Warehouse Stationery stores. They had already collected and recycled a staggering 199,052 kg of electronic waste by the end of November. Search for your nearest drop-off location.
The need for product stewardship
Around 80,000 tonnes of e-waste are generated every year, but the MFE estimates only 2 per cent of that waste is recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills across the country. The insides of electronic devices are full of toxic materials. A CRT TV or monitor may contain up to 3 kg of lead.
“Voluntary disposal methods are under-resourced and fragmented and rely on individuals to know what to do with their unwanted items,” says Parul Sood, General Manager for Waste Solutions.
“Product stewardship is when the manufacturer takes responsibility for considering the full life cycle of a product when they make it, so the product can be used for as long as possible and recycled at the end of its life. Auckland Council supports the Ministry for the Environment initiative to create a product stewardship process for electronic waste,” explains Parul.
One way we can support the manufacturers who are closing the loop is by doing our research ahead of time. Consumer NZ makes this easier than previous years by keeping record of which devices are more durable, able to be repaired and less likely to break. Keep this in mind ahead of Christmas and Boxing Day sales if you’re looking to upgrade.
Together we can protect our land, our people, and waste nothing.