The New Zealand Product Stewardship Council (NZPSC) supports the recent call by the eDay Trust to introduce an e-waste product stewardship scheme for New Zealand.
“Electronic waste has been a growing problem for New Zealand, and unlike most western countries, we have basically ignored it” says Sandra Murray, co-ordinator for the New Zealand Product Stewardship Council.
“Our government has twice gone through an exercise to investigate e-waste product stewardship, and on both occasions industry representatives have requested that such a scheme is mandatory, to make sure all companies are held responsible”.
But since the Waste Minimisation Act was passed in 2008, the government has refused to use the ‘priority product’ regulatory components of the Act to address the e-waste problem.
Instead, over $70M of landfill levy money has been spent on projects and schemes which have had little, if any, impact on the amount of rubbish created or going to landfill.
“The Waste Minimisation Act (2008) was intended to be used to manage problematic waste,” says Sandra. “But much of our e-waste still ends up in landfill, wasting the resources contained within each item and filling our landfills. Perhaps this is one reason why waste to landfill has increased by 20% in the last three years”.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of reusable and recyclable materials are going to landfill each year in NZ because waste disposal is the cheapest option.
“We support an increase in the levy applied to waste-to-landfill, matched with proper e-waste product stewardship to ensure producers take responsibility for the whole life cycle of their products” says Sandra “this combination will encourage recovery of e-waste and discourage sending it to landfill”.
“The current voluntary approach to the management of e-waste has failed to support the recycling market, failed to create a level playing field for businesses and failed to address the problem”