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Wellingtonians would pay more for electronics to ensure safe recycling

May 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest News, News

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WELLINGTONIANS would be willing to pay a little extra when buying electronic devices so that they could recycle them for free.

Wellington City councillors are being asked to support a scheme which would add about $20 to the purchase price of a TV.

The scheme would make recycling e-waste free, and it is expected that costs would be proportionally smaller for smaller items.

Newswire spoke to people on the streets of Wellington about the issue this week, and all are supportive of the move.

Only one of those spoken to was mindful of disposing of waste.

Victoria University student Alicia Taylor, of Newtown, says she doesn’t currently recycle e-waste.

“I guess I just throw it away.”

Tom Walker (Right) from Brooklyn thinks the extra purchase price is worth it.

“TVs are pretty expensive, it doesn’t make that much of a difference really.”

Mr Walker does not recycle his e-waste either. “To be honest, I’d probably just throw it in the bin.”

Michael Lowe (Left), an architect who lives in Te Aro, takes TVs to a recycling station in Newtown, which costs him about $40, and waits until he has a collection of batteries and then takes them into somewhere like Sony.

A ZeroWaste New Zealand report, quoted in a report to the council, estimates that only 20% of New Zealand’s electronic waste is recycled.

This leaves 80,000 tonnes of waste to go into landfills every year, which is only 2% of the country’s total waste, but 70% of the toxic waste.

Electronic waste includes televisions, computers, tape recorders, CD and DVD players, digital cameras, mobile phones, video games, and eBook readers.

Aro Valley’s Marin van Hove (Right) does not have any e-waste to recycle.

“I don’t have that much stuff, and it doesn’t break, but I guess I’d just throw it away.”

Hugh Day, from Epuni, would not mind paying a little extra to buy electronics.  “Yeah, I wouldn’t be bothered with it.”

His waste is picked up by the Lower Hutt City Council.

“I think it gets picked up by the council once every couple of months or so.”

Benjamin Moore (Left), who is unemployed and lives in Aro Valley, has had problems disposing of electronic waste.

“My last computer, the fire service had to put it out.”

So far Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Masterton District Council, and Greater Wellington Regional Council have said they support the idea.

If Wellington also decides to support the idea, they would be recommending to the government that a national e-waste recycling scheme be set up, and importers and manufacturers would be part of the scheme.

The council’s stategy and policy committe is considering the issue this week.

Currently, 27 out of the 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have similar schemes.

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