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New Zealand tackles e-waste issue

May 31, 2018

(Credit: www.bbc.com)

The Pacific nation’s Associate Environment Minister has announced a funding injection to increase recycling efforts and prevent landfill.

Eugenie Sage has announced that the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund has given an NZ$80,000 ($56,000/€48,000) grant to Mint Innovation, an Auckland company using chemistry and microbiology processes to recover valuable metals from e-waste, reports Xinhua News.

Mint Innovation plans to use the grant to conduct a technical feasibility study, looking into the possible deployment of the technology.

“Often old electronic goods end up in landfills,” said Sage. “This is a huge waste of finite resources such as lithium and copper, and is also a major environmental hazard.”

The toxic chemicals that can leach into the waterways and seas from incorrectly-disposed-of e-waste poses a particular threat to an island country such as New Zealand.

“As a nation, we need to accelerate our transition to a circular economy, where the products we make and use are designed to be reused, recycled or composted, so that waste is designed out of the system,” Sage added.

The Waste Minimisation Fund was established by the Government in 2009, and is itself funded by a levy of NZ$10 ($7/€6) charged on every tonne of waste going to landfill.

New Zealand’s action is in part prompted by a greater strain put upon the country in the wake of China’s ban on waste importations. It follows other Asia Pacific nations such as Thailand and Vietnam in having to reconsider strategy following the ban, with both nations under increasing pressure to deal with its mounting waste.

“The ban has had a greater impact than the industry expected and we need a coordinated response from central and local government, together with the waste and business sectors,” said Sage. “We are also looking at options such as expanding the waste levy to more landfills, improving the data we have on waste including recyclables, and other tools to reduce the environment harm of products such as product stewardship, levies and bans.”

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : E-waste Government New Zealand Recycling

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