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Will there soon be a Producer Responsibility regarding WEEE in New Zealand?

As yet New Zealand is one of the few OECD countries that is lagging behind regarding the producer responsibility for the management of WEEE, whereas other countries such as Australia, Canada, Chile and Israel move forward. With this in mind, eDay New Zealand Trust has asked the Ministry for the Environment to declare WEEE as a priority product under the 2008 Waste Minimization Act and to set a schedule for the implementation of a national mandatory WEEE product stewardship program.

In 2015, there was overwhelming support from stakeholder groups for WEEE to be declared as a priority product. eDay New Zealand Trust advocates a regime whereby fees would be levied on the sale of new EEE and held by an industry-managed compliance organization to fund the costs of responsible recycling. Recent research also has shown that there is increased consumer support for a regime whereby treatment costs are bundled into the price of new EEE. The Ministry for the Environment estimates between 72.000 and 85.000 tons of WEEE are generated in New Zealand with volumes rising.

Despite all these announcements and facts, recycling is currently limited in New Zealand. The Ministry for the Environment emphasizes that there are certain barriers to recycle WEEE in New Zealand and hence lowers the urge to set up WEEE schemes: Remanufacturing operations in New Zealand are exposed to high labor costs and intensity, whereas activities are economically marginal. In addition, there is increased competition from overseas processors, especially from South East Asia, that are in search for precious metals.

Concluded it seems that New Zealand’s Authorities want to refrain from pushing the setup of own recycling / remanufacturing WEEE businesses, hence the question remains whether WEEE stewardship schemes will ever be introduced in New Zealand.

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We will provide you with an update as soon as there are new developments. Please feel free to contact us in case you have any questions about WEEE declaration requirements.

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