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Stewardship scheme ‘long overdue’ for New Zealand

New Zealand – Three million mobile phones become obsolete in New Zealand every year and only around 2% are recycled, the country’€™s environment minister Amy Adams has pointed out. Thus, the New Zealand government is ‘currently considering whether it should intervene’ to improve the management of not only e-scrap but also tyres, agrichemicals, farm plastics, refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases.

Millions of computers are landfilled across New Zealand every year, together with 70% of end-of-life tyres. In addition, the country imports over five million tyres annually, Adams notes. Her office has proposed several remedies, including a ′priority product status′ approach which requires all parties to establish a product stewardship scheme.

′While the focus in New Zealand has been on voluntary schemes, in my view the time has come to seriously consider appropriate mandatory approaches for selected priority waste streams,′ Adams argues. The scheme could be developed in association with the Waste Minimisation Act, she suggests.

′Half the work done′

Such a move is ′long overdue′, according to Sue Coutts of New Zealand′s Community Recycling Network. ′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.′ Australia, which deals with many of the same importers and producers of electronics, has already ′done half of the work′ by launching a mandatory scheme. ′It is time we caught up,′ Coutts insists.

While the government is said to have the right attitude, stewardship scheme specialist Graeme Norton of the 3R Group cautions: ′Unless all players in a market participate, it provides an unbalanced playing field which can favour free-riders and undermine a programme′s effectiveness.′

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Source: New Zealand Herald

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