Monday, September 22, 2008

NEW ZEALAND CELL-PHONE PROBLEMS

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER - The Dominion Post | Monday, 22 September 2008
E-waste solution will take till 2012

Computer manufacturers will need to take responsibility for recycling or disposing of unwanted computer equipment after Parliament passes the Waste Minimisation Act, but they may have four years to prepare.

The act, originally a private member's bill sponsored by the Green Party, empowers the Environment Ministry to force manufacturers to take part in industry-run recycling schemes, or to impose mandatory schemes of its own.

The Government said in its updated Digital Strategy, issued last month, that the ministry would put in place two "product stewardship schemes" for electronic waste by 2012.

The schemes are expected to add about $50 to the average cost of a personal computer.

As an interim step, the ministry will release best-practice guidelines for refurbishing recycled computer equipment next year.

Hopes that a working party led by the Consumer Electronics Association could quickly establish an industry-run computer recycling scheme took a step backward last month.

Some multinational PC makers declined to support an arrangement under which they would pay an advance levy on imported computers to pay for recycling.

The multinationals proposed that they be allowed to pay for the cost of recycling IT equipment only after it was dropped off at recycling centres, and that New Zealand PC assemblers pay a deposit in advance when they sold computers. The assemblers argued that this would be unfair.

Some believe the dispute makes it inevitable that a government- designed scheme will be imposed on the industry.

But the long timeframes envisaged in the Digital Strategy mean New Zealanders could be relying on events such as next month's eDay for a few years yet.

Environment Ministry spokeswoman Sophie Lee says the 2012 target was set to allow time for "public consultation, research, and negotiations with industry required to develop a robust product stewardship scheme for priority products".

Households will be able to drop off unwanted computers and peripherals for recycling at no cost at 30 collection points on October 4.

The Computer Access New Zealand Trust is organising the event, details of which are at www.eday.org.nz.

It hopes to collect 1000 tonnes of e-waste.

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard says New Zealanders own 825,000 mobile phones that are no longer being used and have more than 250,000 unused computers in their homes.

1 comment:

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