e-waste disposal

Since 2015, around 420.3 million metric tons of e waste has been produced around the world. This means that e waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world.

One of the core principles of the circular economy is that materials are designed and produced with reuse and recycling as a priority.

What is e-waste?

Basically, anything with an electrical cord that needs to be disposed of is classed as e-waste.

When damaged or unwanted e-waste is dumped in landfill, toxic substances such as lead, and mercury contaminate land and leach into water sources causing harm to fish and animal life and pollute the air. The e-waste items often contain valuable non-renewable resources such as aluminium and cobalt so throwing them away means we are having to mine the earth to produce more of these materials.

Cost of disposal for e-waste (accepted at Martinborough Transfer Station & Greytown and Featherston Recycling Stations) 

Small itemsMobile phones, cameras etcNo charge
Medium itemsKeyboards  docking stations, modems, routers, stereos, gaming consoles$5.00 per item
Large itemsTVs, computer monitors, printers, fax machines, microwaves$20.00 per item
Photocopiers$50.00 per item
Charges effective 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 www.swdc.govt.nz/services/council-fees-and-charges

Why do we charge for e-waste disposal?

Currently the process for recycling components from e-waste in New Zealand is very labour-intensive so costs are determined by labour costs, landfill costs and the price of materials removed.

Mechanical processing rather than manual labour is becoming more common overseas but there is still a cost involved in collecting and shipping to those countries.

We are working with other councils in New Zealand to ask the Government to introduce product stewardship schemes so the responsibility and cost of managing e-waste is put onto the manufacturer.

Ways to reduce e-waste

There are ways of reducing the amount of e-waste we generate:

  • Postpone upgrading for as long as possible; do you really need the latest model?
  • Can the item be reused? Can you donate it to charity or give it to a friend or family member? Can it be upcycled?
  • Will the manufacturer take it back? Check to see if they have a product stewardship program where they take back the item they made for recycling.

Always dispose of items at the e-waste area, which will enable the product to be recycled correctly and reduce harm to the environment.

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