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What is E-waste?
E-waste is a term applied to electronic equipment that is no longer functional or necessary. It includes small appliances, printers, televisions and computer waste (keyboards, screens etc).
It is estimated that 80,000 tonnes of E-waste is disposed of into NZ landfills every year.
Why is it a problem?
With technology continuously developing we are seeing more and more electronic waste sent to landfill every year. It’s important that we don’t bury electronics in the ground for the preservation of human health, and our future environmental safety and sustainability.
Many components of E-waste contain precious or naturally rare and uncommon metals, so it is important we recover as much of these as possible. For example, Dr Will Barker, CEO of Mint Innovation, who has recently set up NZ’s first rare metal recovery facility, says “Approximately 50 million tonnes of E-waste was generated worldwide last year, with the metallic value alone estimated to be close to US$50 billion. This includes US$22 billion in gold, found primarily in circuit boards”.
Batteries and E-waste also leak toxins and heavy metals, such as lead and bromide, and it is important that we do our best to keep these and other E-waste products out of the landfill. It is estimated that E-Waste contributes 40% of the lead and 70% of the heavy metals found in all landfills. These toxins and heavy metals are dangerous to human health, our environment, ecosystems and species.
A number of electronic products contain hazardous material which is prohibited from Landfill by the Ministry for Environment for example, cathode rods in television screens.
By recycling your E-waste, you are creating an opportunity for rare and valuable materials to be re-used or repurposed, whilst also enabling us to remove the hazardous waste and dispose of this properly.
How you can recycle E-waste
Council works in collaboration with E-cycle Limited, a New Zealand owned and operated company, who provide environmentally friendly recycling of electronic products or electronic waste (E-waste).
We subsidise the cost of this process to help make it easier and more accessible for our residents and communities.
Once the E-waste is dropped off at the Hawera Transfer Station it is stacked, wrapped and sent to E-cycle in Auckland where it is processed. For more detailed information about the process, visit the E-cycle website.
Mobile phones can be recycled free of charge at Counci's Hāwera Administration Building on Albion Street.