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Government Allocates $550,000 To Clean Up Hazardous Waste


Hon Amy Adams

Minister for the Environment


24 April 2013 Media Statement

Government Allocates $550,000 To Clean Up Hazardous Waste

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will provide $550,000 to establish a nationwide programme to safely dispose of hazardous material.

The money from the Waste Minimisation Fund has been awarded to Transpacific Technical Services to collect and dispose of hazardous material found primarily in old electrical equipment.

The hazardous material, known as Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), was previously used in products such as electrical transformers, ballasts and heat transfer capacitors.

The potential harm of PCBs was unknown when they were initially used in products. Since 2004 the manufacture, import or use of PCBs has been prohibited in New Zealand, however there is legacy waste that still needs to be collected and disposed of in a safe way.

Ms Adams made the funding announcement during a visit to Transpacific in Auckland today.

“The material can be harmful if it finds its way into the waste stream, so it is important that any hazardous material is dealt with in a safe and environmentally-sound way,” Ms Adams says.

“We do not want to see this material being buried. That does not deal with the problem; it just increases the potential for future environmental and health risks.”

Transpacific, which will collect 12 tonnes of PCBs over the next two years, will launch a publicity campaign advertising the free collection and disposal service.

The campaign will include particular promotion to the electrical industry, as electricians often encounter PCBs during lighting upgrades, and to rural landowners to discourage on-farm dumping.

The waste collected by Transpacific will be sent to a hazardous waste facility in France, as there are currently no suitable facilities in New Zealand.

Transpacific received $330,000 from the Waste Minimisation Fund in 2011 to run a similar service, collecting and disposing of eight tonnes of PCBs.

The Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects which reduce harm to the environment and provide environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits.

Money for the fund comes from a levy charged on waste disposed of at landfills.

To date, the Government has allocated $43.3 million in funding for 83 projects through the fund.


ENDS


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