Old TVs need ur­gent ac­tion

Pile up con­cerns re­cy­clers

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Screened: Com­mu­nity Re­cy­cling Net­work spokes­woman Sue Coutts with a stack of tele­vi­sions to be re­cy­cled.

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