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e-Cycle network welcomes $1 million boost

10th August 2011

e-Cycle network welcomes $1 million boost

RCN e-Cycle today welcomed the announcement that the Government will contribute more than $1 million to the nationwide electronic waste recycling scheme.

Environment Minister Nick Smith made the announcement at the opening of the Wellington e-Cycle Recycling Facility at Seaview.

RCN e-Cycle has 20 depots around the country and provides everyday recycling of electronic waste such as televisions and computers.

The funding will be provided from the Waste Minimisation Fund. It will help pay for 15 more depots and a nationwide campaign to publicise the RCN e-Cycle service and the importance of recycling e-waste.

RCN e-Cycle manager Jon Thornhill said the new funding would create a real buzz at this evening’s launch of the e-Cycle network.

The launch is the culmination of a year’s work establishing the permanent e-Cycle depots, training staff and getting the logistics in place, including setting up recycling facilities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The e-Cycle scheme received $400,000 towards set-up costs from the Waste Minimisation Fund in 2010. The e-Cycle network is the only recycling scheme which can collect electronic waste all around New Zealand every day.

Mr Thornhill said RCN’s relationship with the Community Recycling Network (CRN) has been crucial in establishing a permanent nationwide network.

Many of the 20 depots are based in community recycling centres. 17 e-Cycle permanent depots* are already open and three more will open in August**.

CRN spokesperson Karen Driver said the RCN e-Cycle scheme gave CRN confidence that e-waste collected by community recycling centres and other depots would be recycled safely and responsibly.

“E-waste contains toxic chemicals and materials, which is why we need to keep it out of New Zealand’s landfills. But we also have to make sure that it is handled correctly all the way down the recycling chain, so that it doesn’t damage any other country’s environment or workers.”

Mr Thornhill said that e-Day had done a good job of alerting the public to the growing problem of e-waste, but its useful life had come to an end.

“E-Day was a short-term band-aid, but it’s time to move to an everyday solution for recycling e-waste. Getting people to stockpile e-waste for the year created a recycling bulge which was logistically difficult to deal with, and a culture of waiting for someone else to fix the problem.

“The digital switchover for televisions is approaching fast, and this country is going to have to deal with a huge number of discarded televisions. The e-Cycle network is committed to taking all e-waste, even televisions and CRT monitors which contain very little recyclable material of value.

“We have chosen to charge people a moderate fee when they recycle e-waste with us. The fee covers the costs of safe and responsible e-waste recycling.”

CRN spokesperson Karen Driver said that both RCN and CRN are advocates for product stewardship for electronic waste.

“In the long term, manufacturers and importers of electronic goods need to be responsible for the end-of-life recycling of their products, and we are doing everything we can to make that happen.

“But people are turning up to community recycling centres every day with armloads of electronic waste. We can’t wait five or ten years for a solution. CRN members need to be able to recycle e-waste responsibly and safely now, in line with our commitment to zero waste to landfill.”

Mr Thornhill said that the next step is to raise awareness of the RCN e-Cycle network throughout the country, and to continue setting up depots


* e-Cycle Depots are up and running in: Alexandra (CRN), Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Dargaville, Hastings, Hurunui (CRN), Kaitaia (CRN), Mt Maunganui, Nelson (CRN), Porirua (CRN), Raglan (CRN), Rotorua, Thames (CRN), Wanaka (CRN), Wellington, Whangarei (CRN).

*e-Cycle Depots in Gisborne, Tauranga and Whakatane will open in September.


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