The prospect of a regulated product stewardship program in New Zealand is edging closer after our recent meeting with the Associate Minister for the Environment last month.
Warren Overton and Carla Vasconi met with Eugenie Sage in Wellington accompanied by Kim Conner, Canon New Zealand; Monina De Vera, HP; Vicki Hawthorne, Apple; and Susan Poh, Dell, representing some of our New Zealand membership. The meeting was to share learnings from our pilot program so far, and discuss how such a program may be expanded across the country to amplify the impact of responsible e-waste recycling.
As the largest producer responsibility organisation (PRO) under Australia’s Product Stewardship Act 2011, we are able to provide useful counsel to the Minister as the Central Government considers a product stewardship scheme for New Zealand. We are advocating for the implementation of a mandatory rather than voluntary scheme to ensure it is fair, equitable and does not let the burden fall on the handful of forward-thinking and proactive producer organisations.
New Zealand will have a general election around September next year, presenting an achievable and favourable time frame for the current Government to make such a policy announcement.
We are also currently in the process of submitting an application to the Waste Minimisation Fund to expand our pilot program. Building on our program will allow us to broaden our collection channel beyond retail sites to schools and local councils, a request we have been hearing from the community since the launch of the pilot. It will also give us further data and insights to provide to the Government as they draft product stewardship policy.
Since starting the TechCollect New Zealand pilot in November 2018, we have collected and recycled nearly 10,000 kg of e-waste. We anticipate that the funding from our seven pilot program members will enable us to continue this important pilot until the end of 2019.