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National must cover cost of failed TV take-back scheme

4 August 2014

National must cover cost of failed TV take-back scheme

National must bail out the community organisations and small businesses that are carrying the cost of its failed TV Take Back scheme, the Green Party said today.

“Some community organisations are up to $30,000 out of pocket because of the failed scheme,” said Green Party Waste spokesperson Denise Roche.

“The National Government needs to help these organisations. It should not be their responsibility to pay for National’s white elephant.”

The TV Takeback scheme was put in place to deal with the glut of old TVs needing to be recycled as a result of the digital switch-over.

The Ministry for the Environment brokered a rushed deal with Auckland based company RCN E-Waste Limited to process the TVs, but RCN has since been put into liquidation and almost 100,000 TVs are now stockpiled at drop off points around the country.

“This has meant some, like EarthLink in Upper Hutt, are paying up to $30,000 for container hire and storage fees,” said Ms Roche.

"All community recyclers operate on a very tight budget and extra costs threaten their viability. They simply cannot afford to carry the can because the government-brokered deal failed.

RCN’s liquidation has been put down in part to underfunding by the Government. The Government offered RCN around $21 per TV when international experience shows the actual true cost is around $40.

“Community recyclers and councils were keen to participate because the project would also set up a network of drop off points across the country that could be utilised for other types of electronic waste after the TV Take Back scheme concluded,” said Ms Roche.

“However the underfunding of the TV Takeback scheme has jeopardised the whole e-waste drop-off network across the country.

“Minister Amy Adams should shoulder some responsibility and reimburse these organisations from the Waste Minimisation Fund to ensure the drop off network survives for future e-waste collections."

The Green Party has requested that Amy Adams declare TVs a priority product and regulate to include an advance disposal fee in their sale price. The Minister has so far declined to do so.

"We can avoid this type of recycling price blow out in the future. In the meantime our recycling organisations need to be supported,” Ms Roche said.

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