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Don’t dump toxic TVs in landfill

The cost of dropping off an unwanted television at Environment Centre Hawke’s Bay has been dropped to $5 for Hastings residents - a saving of up to $30.

It is all about keeping televisions and their toxic innards out of the landfill.

The sets are freighted to social agency The Abilities Group in Auckland, where they are stripped down and the parts sold for recycling.

The importance of keeping the toxins that are inside electronic waste out of the landfill cannot be overstated, said Hastings District councillor and environment portfolio holder Rod Heaps.

The old ‘fat back’ televisions are “full of lead and cadmium, while the newer, flat screen televisions have mercury in them”, said Mr Heaps, who is also the chairman of the Omarunui Joint Refuse Landfill Committee.

“These are not things we want to put into the landfill. And there are also some valuable elements in e-waste that can be extracted and re-used, off-setting the need to mine for new raw materials. While we don’t pretend that Hawke’s Bay’s contribution to this is massive, it is true that every little bit helps.”

While Environment Centre volunteers stripped down things like computers and phones for recycling on-site, the equipment and space required to deal with televisions meant it was more sensible to ship them to a company already specialising in that field, said general manager Marielle Haringa.

Doing so had the added advantage of supporting The Abilities Group; a not-for-profit organisation providing work for people with disabilities.

Given the cost of freight and handling, the cost to drop off a television at the centre had been $25 for flat screens and $35 for the old CRT versions. Thanks to a council subsidy that had dropped to $5 for Hastings district residents, regardless of the type of television, from this week (April 1).

Residents dropping off televisions need to provide proof of identity and address.

“We have made a commitment to keeping as much e-waste out of the landfill as we possibly can and encourage people to drop their televisions and other e-waste off to the Environment Centre,” said Mr Heaps.

The centre, at 1004 Karaumu Rd, Hastings, is open on Wednesdays (8.30am to 3.30pm), Thursdays (10am to 5pm)

and Fridays (9am to 3pm), however given that the charitable organisation is run by volunteers, Ms Haringa does recommend phoning to check on the day: 870 4942.

The centre also accepts a range of materials for recycling at no cost, including batteries, oral care products (empty toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers and old toothbrushes), printer ink cartridges, mobile phones, and metal and aluminium bottle tops.

Larger items can be dropped off for a small fee that helps recover the cost of handling and freight, including printers and computer monitors, and small appliances such as microwaves and vacuum cleaners. For the full lists see: www.environmentcentre.org.nz.

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