Wanaka Wastebusters collects desktop computers, laptops, TV’s, cellphones, printers, cables, mice, keyboards, UPS, modems, routers etc (see below for a full list) for recycling. We pick up e-waste recycling from the depot at the Frankton transfer station.

There is a charge to cover the cost of recycling, which we have tried to keep as low as we can. Cellphones are recycled free as part of a fundraiser for Starship hospital. CRT TV’s and CRT monitors (the old style bulky ones) are the most expensive to drop off for recycling because they are heavy and expensive to freight and recycle, and they don’t have anything of value inside to offset the costs.

We’ve found that most people are happy to pay for their e-waste to be recycled safely and responsibly, when they understand why we have to charge.

Currently there is no other way to cover the costs of recycling other than to charge a fee at the end of its life. In the long run, we would like to see the costs of recycling collected up-front when electronic equipment is sold to the consumer. We believe a compulsory product stewardship scheme would solve the funding problems around electronic waste recycling.

Since 2011, we’ve recycled over 70 tonnes of electronic waste from Wanaka and Queenstown.

e-waste recycling charges for Wanaka and Queenstown

(desktops, laptops and servers)
LCD Monitors $12
 CRT TV’s and CRT monitors  $40
 Network Equipment
(hubs, switches, routers, patch panels and modems)
Desktop printers (desktop – large business models) $15 – $69
Faxes and scanners $15
Cellphones (Starship hospital fundraiser) FREE

Why recycle electronic waste?

Computer equipment and cellphones contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. If put in a landfill, the metals can cause toxic leachate which could contaminate water and soil. The plastic casing and wiring of computer equipment can also contain hazardous materials such as brominated flame retardants. Nickel cadmium rechargeable batteries (such as those used in cellphones) contains toxic cadmium.

Computer equipment and cellphones also contain valuable metals, such as copper, platinum and gold. Steel, aluminum, glass and some plastics can also be recycled. Between 70 and 90 per cent of the material in scrap computer equipment (by weight) is potentially recyclable or reusable.

Where does it go?

The e-waste dropped off to Wanaka Wastebusters is sent to Christchurch for processing.  Some items will be refurbished or recycled (cabling, metals, unleaded glass) there. Other materials are sent off-shore (circuit boards, cartridges, batteries and plastic), because there is no option to do it in New Zealand.

Product Stewardship

Wanaka Wastebusters is completely committed to product stewardship for e-waste. We want to see the computer and TV industry take responsibility for the waste they create, and for the cost of safe and responsible recycling to be recognised as a cost of production. Until that happens, we will continue to do everything we can to keep electronic waste out of the landfill.