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Kiwis embrace NZ’s biggest television recycling event

October 6, 2011

Kiwis embrace New Zealand’s biggest television recycling event

The public response to the country’s first major television recycling event suggests Kiwis want to do the right thing when it comes to e-waste, says The Warehouse’s Sustainability Manager Trevor Johnston.

Feedback from the public was very positive during the campaign, he said. “Lots of customers wanted to know about the parts that get recycled and what potentially they get turned into.”

More than 28,000 old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions were returned for recycling, including around 6,000 in Christchurch as residents got rid of old or damaged sets.

The Great TV Take Back, supported by the government’s Waste Minimisation Fund in association with Love New Zealand, ran from September 21st to October 4th and enabled anyone to return for free old unwanted televisions to 20 participating The Warehouse stores throughout the country.

Mr Johnston says the company is blown away with the response to the campaign. “Given the already heavy toll on the environment from the Christchurch earthquakes, it’s great to see that many sets avoid going to landfill,” he said.

Members of the public returning old sets deposited them in shipping containers at the participating stores around the country. Ninety six per cent of the components in the old sets would be recycled, said Mr Johnston.

Based on the number of sets returned, an estimate of recovered materials from the recycling effort included: 116 tonnes of plastic, 12 tonnes of steel, 70 tonnes of lead, 230 tonnes of glass and 10 tonnes of copper.

Mr Johnston said that around 1,000 man days of labour in New Zealand will be used to collect and recycle the returned TVs, reflecting the additional employment activity arising from the scheme.

As a major retailer of televisions, The Warehouse was pleased to be involved in the campaign, he said. “It’s about raising awareness about responsible disposal of e-waste, and promoting product stewardship.”

The Warehouse’s own product stewardship included its award winning “Bags for Good” programme aimed at cutting back plastic bag waste. The scheme has resulted in an 80% reduction in bags issued by The Warehouse, with profits from the 10 cent charge being donated to local community groups and charities – around $400,000 each year.

ENDS

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