Funding for e-waste project announced

The Government is delivering on its plan to turn around New Zealand’s rubbish record on waste with the opening of a new facility today to recycle e-waste like old computers, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

“We have an ambitious programme underway to turn around New Zealand’s poor track record on waste, and reducing e-waste is part of that,” said Eugenie Sage.

The Government is putting $360,000 of funding from the Waste Minimisation fund towards the new project.

Run by the Digital Wings Trust, the project facilitates the reuse of surplus electronic equipment (mainly computers) from businesses and government organisations through donations to not-for-profit community organisations.

“This project will reduce e-waste going to landfill, promote environmental awareness, provide jobs and help disadvantaged communities secure access to refurbished computers,” Eugenie Sage said.

A pilot programme run by RemarkIT Solutions Ltd (a computer refurbisher) secured the support of 12 donor organisations and resulted in 1,900 items of computer equipment being diverted from landfill and the gifting of 280 computers to not-for-profit community groups.

This new three year project will expand the pilot programme to at least 50 donor organisations, aiming to receive donations of 20,000 computer units and gift 3000 refurbished units to recipient organisations. The remainder will be sold commercially by RemarkIT or stripped for parts and recycled for use in new products.

Refurbished equipment comes with a 12 month warranty and recipient organisations are able to return the equipment (free of charge) for recycling once it has reached the end of its life.

“The project also supports a circular economy approach by extending the life of computer equipment, diverting e-waste from landfill, and promoting resource reuse in manufacturing new products,” Eugenie Sage said.

“The Ministry for the Environment is developing a mandatory product stewardship scheme for e-waste, starting with lithium-ion batteries, which would make manufacturers responsible for managing the ‘end-of-life’ aspects of their products.”

The announcement of this funding was made at a ceremony to open a new RemarkIT facility.

You can find out more about the Waste Minimisation Fund on the Ministry for the Environment's website.