The eWaste concern

The eWaste concernIn 2011, 2.461 million tonnes of solid waste was disposed of in municipal landfills in New Zealand; of that volume 100,000 to 130,000 tonnes was e-Waste 1.

While landfill waste technology and management has advanced significantly, the long term impacts are still unknown. According to Enviro-Waste, one of New Zealand’s leading waste management organisations, ‘Modern engineering standards mean that waste facilities are constructed to have as little impact on the environment as possible.2’ However, Enviro-waste also state that ‘the end of the working life of a landfill does not signal the end of its lifecycle, nor the end of the potential impact it may have upon the environment.’3

Landfill management organisations claim that the life expectancy of the landfill is approximately 100 years, although initial resource consents are granted for up to only 35 years 4.

The eWaste concernCurrently there is no government legislation in New Zealand for the safe disposal of E-Waste in a sustainable and socially responsible manner, hence the the eWaste concern.

With the fast paced developments in technology, electronic goods quickly become obsolete. This is resulting in vast volumes of electrical and electronic devices ending up as waste each year.


1 The last figures available in NZ, source, Report: E-Waste, prepared by the e-Waste coalition for the Ministry of the Environment 2011
2 Enviro-waste website, landfill aftercare and remediation
3 Enviro-waste, Hampton Downs landfill document
4 Zero Waste New Zealand Trust, Wasted Opportunities
5 Ministry of the Environment, Quantity of solid waste sent to landfill report 2012