Old TVs need urgent action
Pile up concerns recyclers
Concerns are rising that more televisions will be dumped in the streets unless a better recycling option is created.
Community Recycling Network spokeswoman Sue Coutts said ‘‘the government’s TV TakeBack scheme is in a mess, leaving community recycling centres which collect televisions in limbo’’.
RCN e-Cycle depots were no longer accepting televisions for recycling, some were charging $40, and a funding shortfall has left a ‘‘massive backlog’’ of televisions waiting to be processed.
‘‘For most people, $40 is more than they are willing or able to pay to recycle their old television at the end of its life. We’re already seeing an increase in people dumping them at the landfill or in the street.’’
Televisions contain toxic components, such as leaded glass, which should not be put in landfills.
‘‘TV TakeBack was supposed to be a bridge to a permanent television recycling solution. Now it seems like a bridge to nowhere.
‘‘What concerns me is the number of televisions that will be dumped while the talking goes on. We need action, and we need it now, ’’ she said.
Central Otago WasteBusters general manager Glenys Byrne said they stopped accepting cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and computers last month which had not gone down well with the public.
‘‘It usually comes with a stream of verbal abuse.’’
People had been illegally dumping them at the gate, she said.
‘‘We had three dumped at our gates this week so we had to call the council. It’s illegal dumping so the ratepayer ends up paying. That has been regular and it is increasing.’’
Last week Environment Minister Amy Adams put out a discussion document seeking feedback on whether a mandatory product stewardship scheme for electronic waste should be put in place.
Under a product stewardship scheme, the recycling costs of electronics were paid upfront by the importers, manufacturers or retailers.
‘‘I am concerned about the risk of environmental harm from having tens of thousands of tonnes of waste products dumped in landfill unnecessarily,’’Adams said.
‘‘For example, it is estimated that each year up to 3 million mobile phones become obsolete in New Zealand. Of those, only about 2 per cent are recycled,’’ she said.
‘‘Involving the industry solves the dilemma of how to get the money to pay for the recycling costs. It also encourages better design to reduce recycling costs, making recycling a more efficient process,’’ Coutts said.
Screened: Community Recycling Network spokeswoman Sue Coutts with a stack of televisions to be recycled.