GLRPPR Sector Resource: E-waste in NZ, CANZ report, July 2006 - Web version.pdf (application/pdf Object)
E-waste in NZ, CANZ report, July 2006 - Web version.pdf (application/pdf Object)
The average New Zealand household has two or more television sets and more than one
computer, representing a total of over seven million electronic devices.1 Their eventual
disposal represents a potential toxic threat to our environment. Combine this with computers
outside homes, and the e-waste challenge increases to 16 million devices, including 10 million
cathode ray tubes (CRTs). In 2005, 830,000 new televisions and computers were sold. Many of
the newer TV and computer products are less toxic to the environment, but few are benign and
all will need to be disposed of when they too reach end-of-life.
This is a challenge and a threat that New Zealand cannot ignore. Most of the 10 million TVs
and computers use a cathode ray tube (CRT) as the display device, and in this component alone
there are numerous toxic materials, including lead, barium, beryllium, cadmium, hexavalent
chromium, selenium, mercury and arsenic to name a few. Furthermore, the plastics used in
equipment casings typically contain brominated flame retardants. All of these substances are
dangerous for human beings and animals, if they are released into the atmosphere by burning
or allowed to leach into the soil or waterways.
Like other developed countries, New Zealand's track record in minimising waste is not good.
Though we have improved waste management in some sectors, the overall volume of waste
that we generate continues to grow. This includes e-waste. New Zealand has not yet focused on
solutions for e-waste, in contrast to the situation in some sectors, including paper, glass, paint,
oil, car batteries and tyres, where efforts are being made to manage the safe disposal of waste
This report aims to kick-start an industry-led response to the e-waste problem.
New Zealand Government
Date of Publication: