It is disappointing that RCN may default on its contract with the New Zealand Government on the TV takeback recycling programme. RCN is the leading e-waste processor in New Zealand and if anyone could make it work it would be them.
Ecotech Services supports the concept of Product Stewardship for electronics and electrical goods with the best method being a Deposit Refund System (DRS). It is a well established fact that the voluntary measures preferred by the government are not effective in reducing the rising volume of e-waste.
In Christchurch Ecotech Services staff have noted a rise in the number of the older analogue televisions discarded on the roadside around the city. This is without a doubt happening as a direct result of both the switch off of the analogue television transmission service and the cost incurred to recycle the obsolete televisions. If there was a refund made available on the televisions that could be claimed at the end of their useful life we would not see this sort of litter and they would be diverted from landfills.
In order to prevent the newer electronics products from becoming part of some future e-waste crisis it is imperative that the Minister for the Environment uses his powers granted under the Waste Minimisation Act to declare all electronics items as priority products.
In Europe and some of the US states there is a more responsible attitude to addressing the e-waste issue. Why does so called “clean-green New Zealand” lag so far behind some of our major trading partners?