Wanaka Wastebusters is an official RCN e-Cycle depot, one of a network of electronic waste recycling sites across NZ. We take computers, printers, monitors, faxes, televisions, cellphones and other computer equipment for recycling.
There is a charge to cover the cost, which we have tried to keep as low as we can (except for cellphones, which are recycled free as part of a fundraiser for Starship hospital). We’ve found that most Wanaka people are happy to pay for their e-waste to be recycled safely and responsibly, once they understand why we have to charge.
In the long run, we would like to see the companies who are making the money (ie the producers) pay for the costs of recycling.
Last financial year the Wanaka community recycled 18 tonnes of electronic waste through the Wastebusters RCN e-Cycle depot. That is an impressive amount of TV’s and computers – about 2.5 times the amount we recycled during the old eDays. Go Wanaka!
e-Cycle drop off charges
(desktops, laptops and servers)
(hubs, switches, routers, and modems)
|Desktop printers, faxes and photocopiers||$11.50|
|Cellphones (Starship hospital fundraiser)||FREE|
Why e-Cycle 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?
We are working with RCN, a NZ-owned family firm in Auckland which will organise all the reprocessing and refurbishing of the e-waste collected around the country. RCN is committed to doing as much as possible of the recovery and processing of e-waste in New Zealand.
All of 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, leaded glass, cartridges, batteries and plastic), because there is no option to do it in New Zealand.
Members of the RCN team have visited the off-shore factories, and report that their working conditions are of a high standard, and that they are ISO 14001 accredited and meet international regulations to minimise environmental harm. The factories are located in Australia, Singapore, Japan and China.
Wanaka Wastebusters is completely committed to product stewardship for e-waste. We want to see the computer 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.