New Zealanders buy 300,000 new television sets each year, leaving a lot of old unwanted ones that need disposing of. So the Government should be commended for its TV TakeBack scheme, which has so far seen more than 200,000 TVs collected for recycling.
There’s only one problem with the initiative. It’s temporary. It started last year and finishes this year. Meanwhile Kiwis will continue to buy new tellies and need to get rid of the old ones.
The Government’s scheme is what I’d call a piecemeal approach to TV recycling.
That’s why the Greens would introduce a permanent, year-round solution to TV waste, so no TVs end up in landfill.
We don’t want TVs in landfills because they contain hazardous and highly toxic materials like lead. But they also contain useful materials like copper, precious metals and glass, which can be recycled into other products.
The Green Party would prefer to recycle old TVs so they can be used as something else, and return the cost of doing so to the producer. So every producer of a TV would pay a fee for every TV they import or manufacture.
These importers and manufactures are currently passing the burden of product recycling onto taxpayers and recycling companies. But the responsibility needs to go back on them. If they have to pay for the recycling of their products it gives them an incentive to import or manufacture televisions that are easier and cheaper to recycle.