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No eDay in 2011– time for a permanent ewaste solution is now

No eDay in 2011 – time for a permanent ewaste solution is now, says eDay

eDay organisers today announced that there will be no national eDay electronic waste collection in 2011. Despite strong interest from local communities and support from eDay partners, eDay cannot proceed without substantial central government support.

After supporting eDay for four years, the government turned down eDay’s application to the Waste Minimisation Fund earlier this year. “The Government is looking at more long-term solutions, and we totally support that approach,” said Laurence Zwimpfer, Chair of the eDay New Zealand Trust. “There is a huge recycling and logistics cost to running eDay and as a not-for-profit trust we simply can’t run an event costing over $1m without Government support.”

The eDay New Zealand Trust says eDay was only ever intended as an interim solution for raising community awareness about the importance of recycling electronic waste and to buy some time while permanent ewaste recycling solutions were put in place.

“It is disappointing that so little progress has been made in establishing permanent schemes,” said Mr Zwimpfer. “We feel that eDay can still play an important role as the reality is that many communities still have no convenient recycling facilities and those that do, charge a recycling fee.”

The eDay Trust is encouraging New Zealand communities to continue to store their ewaste or, if they are willing to pay up to $20, dispose of it at an e-Cycle recycling facility -- an initiative supported by the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund.

“e-Cycle is a positive step but as long as there is a recycling charge, we don’t believe this will solve our ewaste challenge,” said Mr Zwimpfer. “Research shows that people will simply not pay $20 to drop off their old CRT computer monitor or TV when they can dump them in a landfill for almost nothing.”

“Our ewaste report released earlier this year makes it clear that any scheme that relies on users paying this level of charge on disposal will not succeed. There also needs to be a service for smaller communities,” he continued.

The eDay Trust is focussing on advocating for a product stewardship scheme to be put in place now -- a scheme that means that the cost of recycling is built into the price of new products so New Zealanders can recycle responsibly at no extra cost when the equipment reaches end of life.

The development of an industry-led product stewardship scheme with regulatory support from Government was the single most important recommendation in the 179-page report on ewaste that was released by the eDay Trust in July this year.

After many years advocating for this approach, the Trust welcomed the recent announcement by the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Dr Nick Smith, that the government is planning to pursue a product stewardship scheme, similar to Australia, for managing ewaste, but questions why the Government says the scheme is still three years away.

“We applaud the Minister for moving in this direction but ask him to explain why it needs to take 3 years. The Australians developed legislation and regulations within 18 months. New Zealand already has the legislative framework and we have the Australian regulations to draw on to speed up the process,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

“We accept it will take time but three years is too late for the analogue TV switch-off, which starts in 2012 and is to be completed by the end of 2013. ewaste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world so the time to permanently solve this crisis in New Zealand is now, not in three years time,” he continued.

The eDay Trust will continue to work with local communities and recyclers on ewaste solutions, especially in areas where there are no recycling options available, to help plug the gap until product stewardship schemes are fully operational.

For more information and to download the ewaste report, visit www.eday.org.nz.


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