Electronic waste (e-waste) disposal is a big problem in New Zealand. According to recent findings, it sums up to over 80,000 tonnes per year, and it often ends up contaminating our landfills. The great news is, many NZ-based environmental recycling and disposal facilities now let you dispose of your e-waste properly.
Know how to dispose of your old electronics here, and read on to learn where you can drop off your e-waste so it gets recycled or repurposed.
Old electronics may not be the priority when you think of recyclable materials. Most people only include paper, plastic, tin, fabric, wood, and food scraps among many other materials as recyclables. However, e-waste is just as valuable — if not more valuable — than these materials for their metal components such as mercury, cadmium, lead, silver, copper, gold, and more!
Disposal facilities recycle these metals, depending on the components and the type of electronics. Then, they sell these metals to major electronic companies as raw materials. This can help them lower the fees, which encourages more Kiwis to do responsible e-waste disposal.
Nowadays, almost all electronics have metals in their parts, with some even having rare earth metals such as thorium, cerium, and uranium. These metals involve very harmful extraction processes. These can cause health and environmental damage, which can often be permanent and toxic to the surrounding communities.
What’s more, people working in the extraction of the metals suffer fatal diseases. Some of these include reproductive issues, developmental problems, damage to the immune system, kidney damage, and even cancer. Most of all, workers are often not equipped with the right tools, exposing them everyday with these toxic chemicals and other occupational hazards.
This makes e-waste recycling more important than ever. Instead of increasing the health and environmental risks, recycling makes for a more ethical and sustainable production of our favourite electronics that help us in our daily lives.
Anything can be recycled! From big boxy fax machines to small devices like smartphones, recycling facilities accept them all for a small fee, and some even for free! However, this still depends on the recycling facilities and whether they can accept your electronic waste.
Generally, you can drop off and recycle the following items:
And the list goes on! Always check with the facility whether they can extract the components and recycle your old electronics. Some older devices may contain cadmium and mercury, which some facilities may not be able to extract.
This also varies per recycling centres. Some scrap every piece of recyclable materials such as plastic, circuit boards, wiring, refrigerant gases, transformers, glasses, LCDs, batteries, and more. Then, they sell these components to different manufacturers as raw materials.
On the other hand, others send them to designated disposal centres and crushing facilities across New Zealand. If all toxic components are removed, safe components are disposed of carefully in the landfills or sent to other recycling facilities overseas.
Major cities and districts in New Zealand usually have an e-waste disposal and recycling facility where you can drop off your old electronics. Dispose of your old electronics responsibly and check out some of the major recycling facilities near you.
It’s no surprise that a big city like Auckland has several recycling centres. Usually, the Auckland City Council sets the regulations for e-waste disposal. Be sure to check this out to dispose of your old electronics properly.
Otherwise, you can drop off your old electronics in any of these recycling facilities:
Absolutely Positively Wellington City Council advocates you to drop off your e-waste to Southern Landfill's Recycle Centre. They accept a wide array of devices, and some bigger electronics may include a small fee.
You can also go to these e-waste recycling centres for some devices that Southern Landfill may not accept.
Ferguson Street Recycling Centre in Palmerston North accepts recycling even during weekends and public holidays! They have a comprehensive list of the recycling fees according to the type of electronic waste you have.
The city council has also lowered the fees, convincing more and more Kiwis to recycle their old electronics. This has proven effective as e-waste recycling in the city has doubled!
Christchurch is a big city, so it has several e-waste recycling facilities. Aside from accepting personal e-waste, they also accept corporate e-waste! No worries about disposing of your big photocopy machines and printers at work!
Check out some electronics recycling facilities around Christchurch.
Dunedin City Council manages the e-waste problem in their city through Waste Management and Minimisation Plan. They make sure Kiwis have more than one recycling option to encourage people to go to the one that's nearest them.
Your e-waste recycling options include:
Dispose of your old electronics responsibly! There may be an recycling centre near you. Make sure to check out your options instead of throwing them out in the bin.
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