Product stewardship should apply to all electrical products

PRESS RELEASE: Ecotech Services. 3 July, 2014

In a submission to the Ministry for the Environment on the Priority waste streams for product stewardship intervention: A discussion document Ecotech Services advocates for product stewardship on all electrical, electronics, and computer products.

“E-waste is the fastest growing segment of waste stream and about 80,000 tonnes of it is thrown out every year. It is full of toxic material and also contains valuable materials such as gold.” said Alan Liefting of Ecotech Services, a technology services company based in Christchurch.

“It really is a no brainer to use product stewardship on anything that runs on electricity. It sorts out all of the problems that are created when the stuff is thrown out.”

“When is comes to environmental protection we lag many of our trading partners. This is certainly the case with e-waste. Europe is on the forefront of addressing the e-waste issue and Japan, the US, Australia, and other OECD countries also have e-waste policies in place.”

“With product stewardship there will probably be a cost to manufacturers, importers, and consumers but this shared cost would be peanuts compared to the the levels of environmental protection that will be gained.”

“As a kid I remember e-waste all over the the farming district where I grew up. There was of stuff like cables and electricity meters, probably from the local electric power board, burnt in a vacant lot in town. I saw some rubbish from the local repair shop dumped down a bank near the Waikato River. My first radio was a piece of junk that was given to me by someone who pulled it out of the local rubbish dump. It had no outer case and I had to fix it, and rewire it to get it to work. Using it to tune into radio stations means I had did least one normal thing in my teenage years!”

Under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 the Minister for the Environment can declare items to be “priority products” which mean that everyone who is somehow involved with the item must ensure it does not cause harm to the environment.

ENDS

NOTES
1. Ministry for the Environment page – http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/waste/priority-waste-streams-may14/index.html
2. Ecotech Services submission – http://www.ecotechservices.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Ecotech-Services-Priority-product-discussion-document-submission.pdf
3. Extensive background material from the eDay Foundation – E-waste in New Zealand: Five years onhttp://www.eday.org.nz/template/ewaste_in_nz_2011_final2.pdf