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2 Paying for E-waste Disposal

2.1 Willingness to pay for disposal

Sixty-six per cent of respondents declared they would be willing to pay for the safe disposal (recycling) of their television or computer, while 25 per cent said they would not be willing to pay for this service and nine per cent were unsure.

Those aged under 30 years and those aged 60 years or more declared lower willingness to pay for safe disposal, at 59 per cent and 58 per cent respectively, while those aged 45 to 59 years declared higher willingness (74 per cent)

Figure 1: Willingness to pay for disposal

Figure 1: Willingness to pay for disposal

Responses given to the question “Would you be willing to pay money for the safe disposal (ie the recycling) of your television or computer?”:

  • Yes - 66 per cent
  • No - 25 per cent
  • Unsure - 9 per cent

Of those respondents who were willing to pay for the recycling of their televisions or computers, the main reasons given for their view, starting with the strongest reasons, were:

  • environmental concerns, such as keeping New Zealand green, and concerns about the impact of landfills on the environment
  • a desire to ensure proper and safe disposal
  • general support for recycling.

A more comprehensive list of reasons is provided in Table 2.

Table 2: Reasons given for willingness to pay for disposal of television or computer*

Reason per cent

Environmental concerns

  • Keep New Zealand green / protect the environment (30.8 per cent)
  • I'm happy to pay for ecologically sensitive disposal (16.6 per cent)
  • Landfills are bad / not sustainable (14.8 per cent)
  • Stop pollution (4.6 per cent)
  • Leave some environmental resources for the future (3.3 per cent)
  • Protect our water supply from pollution / leaking landfills (1.7 per cent)
  • Conscious of environmental issues (0.5 per cent)

72.3

To ensure proper disposal

  • Job will be done properly so there won't be any harm to people (16.8 per cent)
  • You guarantee the job will be done properly when you pay (6.8 per cent)
  • Security issues with computers require the job to be done properly (0.9 per cent)

24.5

Safety issues

  • To stop dangerous computer chips / trace elements leaking out (7.8 per cent)
  • I don't want children exposed to the dangerous bits (4.4 per cent)
  • To stop radiation leakage (3.6 per cent)

15.8

Prefer items to be recycled

  • Facilitate recycling (12.0 per cent)
  • Better to recycle than leave lying around (0.9 per cent)

12.9

There's a mountain of obsolete appliances to dispose of

4.3

More convenient to pay than do it yourself / Better than being fined for illegal dumping

2.9

The initial disposal charge provides a disincentive to buy products

2.6

It would help out New Zealand society

1.6

Because I don't want it in my backyard

0.2

I work in the recycling trade / more business

0.2

You can no longer sell old ones, new ones are too cheap

0.1

Send recycled computers for use in the third world

0.1

Notes: Base = 66 per cent of respondents, those who declared they were willing to pay for safe disposal of their television or computer, n = 497; multiple response.

* Responses given in answer to the question: "Why would you be willing to pay for safe disposal?"

Of the 25 per cent of respondents who were not willing to pay for the disposal of their televisions and computers, the main reasons for this view, starting with the strongest, were:

  • did not feel it was something they should have to pay for
  • thought it was something the Government or council should pay for
  • believed that recycling should be a free exercise
  • viewed recycling as the responsibility of the retailers
  • considered these appliances to be not dangerous.

A more comprehensive list of reasons is given in Table 3.

Table 3: Reasons not willing to pay for disposal of television/computer*

Reason per cent

The cost

  • I don't have enough money / don't want to spend the money (17.4 per cent)
  • You already have to pay to use the dump (3.7 per cent)
  • I paid enough money for it and I don't want to pay to get rid of it (3.3 per cent)

24.4

Government/council should pay for disposal

  • The Government should pay; that is why we pay taxes (12.6 per cent)
  • The council should pay; that is why we pay rates (11.5 per cent)

24.1

Recycling facilities should be free

  • Should provide recycling and disposal facilities (7.1 per cent)
  • Recyclers can find gold in my computer; they should pay (3.8 per cent)
  • There should be a free recycling facility (3.0 per cent)

13.9

Disposal should be dealt with by retailer

  • Should factor disposal costs into the retail price (10.3 per cent)
  • Should be able to return it to the retailer (1.4 per cent)

11.7

I don't believe these appliances are dangerous

10.6

I don't have a computer/television

6.8

My television will outlive me

4.7

I would just dump it

3.6

I enjoy demolishing appliances myself

3.1

I would use inorganic collection

3.0

I would give it away / sell it on

2.7

If people are made to pay they will dump illegally

2.2

I will trade it in

0.9

I don't trust them to recycle properly

0.4

Notes: Base = 25 per cent of respondents, those who declared they were not willing to pay for safe disposal of their television or computer; n = 185; multiple response.

* Responses given in answer to the question: "Why wouldn't you be willing to pay for safe disposal?"

2.2 Amount willing to pay for disposal

Respondents who were willing to pay for the safe disposal of their televisions or computers were asked whether they would be willing to pay at a number of different price points. Figure 2 summarises the responses across the total sample, and a full explanation of how these figures were calculated is outlined in the note below.

The data show that:

  • 31 per cent indicated they would be willing to pay $50 or more (20 per cent $50, 4 per cent $60, 2 per cent $70, 5 per cent more than $70)
  • 35 per cent were willing to pay $40 or less (2 per cent $40, 11 per cent $30, 12 per cent $20, 5 per cent $10, 2 per cent $5)
  • 3 per cent were willing to pay less than $5 (it was assumed that those who said no to $5 would be willing to pay something less than $5 as they had earlier said they would be generally willing to pay for the safe disposal of their television or computer)
  • 34 per cent said they were not willing to pay anything, or were unsure.

 

Those aged 60 years or more were more likely to state they were not willing to pay any amount for safe disposal, while those aged 45 to 59 years were more likely.

Figure 2: Amount willing to pay for disposal - summary statistics across total sample*

Responses given to the questions “As you may be aware many costs are involved in safe recycling of computers and TV’s, such as collection, storage, disassembly, transportation, freight and processing costs. If you were required to pay a fee for the safe recycling of your obsolete computer or TV, what is the maximum amount you would be willing to pay..?”:

  • Not willing to pay/unsure - 34 per cent
  • Less than $5 - 3 per cent
  • $5 - 2 per cent
  • $10 - 5 per cent
  • $20 - 12 per cent
  • $30 - 11 per cent
  • $40 - 2 per cent
  • $50 - 20 per cent
  • $60 - 4 per cent
  • $70 - 2 per cent
  • More than $70 - 5 per cent

Notes:

  • This question was asked over several questions. The 66 per cent of respondents who declared they were willing to pay to dispose of their old computer/ television were asked if they were willing to pay $50.
  • Those respondents who stated they were willing to pay $50 were then asked if they were willing to pay $60 and so on in increments of $10 until they were asked whether they would pay $70 or more.
  • Those respondents who stated they were not willing to pay $50 were then asked if they were willing to pay $40 and so on in decreasing increments of $10 until they were asked whether they would pay $5. Those who said no but initially declared they would pay for the disposal were put in the under $5 group.
  • At any stage an unsure answer was taken as a no, ie, if a respondent was willing to pay $60 but unsure if they were willing to pay $70, then they were combined into the $60 category.

Table 4 outlines the percentages of respondents who stated they were willing to pay at each price point. Once a respondent stated a cost lower than $50 they were willing to pay, they were not asked any more price points. If a respondent stated a willingness to pay amounts higher than $50 they were asked increasingly larger amounts to a high of "more than $70".

The data show that:

  • 48 per cent said they were willing to pay $50
  • of those who said they were willing to pay $50, 38 per cent said they were willing to pay $60
  • of those who said they were willing to pay $60, 66 per cent said they were willing to pay $70
  • of those who said they were willing to pay $70, 69 per cent said they were willing to pay more than $70
  • of those who said they were not willing to pay $50, 6 per cent said they were willing to pay $40
  • of those who said they were not willing to pay $40, 35 per cent said they were willing to pay $30
  • of those who said they were not willing to pay $30, 62 per cent said they were willing to pay $20
  • of those who said they were not willing to pay $20, 69 per cent said they were willing to pay $10
  • of those who said they were not willing to pay $10, 67 per cent said they were willing to pay $5.

Table 4: Amount willing to pay for disposal*

Amount willing to pay per cent
Yes No Unsure

$50

48

51

1

Base: Those willing to pay for disposal generally (n = 497)

$60

38

60

2

Base: Those willing to pay $50 (n = 237)

$70

66

33

1

Base: Those willing to pay $60 (n = 90)

More than $70

69

26

5

Base: Those willing to pay $70 (n = 59)

 

$40

6

93

1

Base: Those not willing to pay $50 (n = 252)

$30

35

64

1

Base: Those not willing to pay $40 (n = 234)

$20

62

38

-

Base: Those not willing to pay $30 (n = 150)

$10

69

30

1

Base: Those not willing to pay $20 (n = 57)

$5

67

29

4

Base: Those not willing to pay $10 (n = 17)

* Based on the question: "As you may be aware there are many costs involved in the safe recycling of computers and televisions, such as collection, storage, disassembly, transportation, freight and processing costs. If you were required to pay a fee for the safe recycling of your obsolete computer or television, what is the maximum amount you would be willing to pay?"

2.3 Preferred timing of payment

All respondents − regardless of their willingness to pay for the recycling of their televisions or computers − were given the option of payment for this service at purchase or disposal. Respondents were mixed on this issue, with 49 per cent declaring they would prefer to pay the fee at purchase and 44 per cent declaring they would prefer to make the payment at disposal, while 5 per cent were unsure.

There was little demographic variation. Those aged 60 years or more were less likely to prefer to pay the fee at purchase (40 per cent), and those earning between $15,000 and $25,000 per annum stated a greater preference to pay at disposal (55 per cent) than at purchase (39 per cent).

Figure 3: Preferred timing of fee

Responses given to the question “If you had to pay a fee, would you prefer to pay the fee when you buy a new computer or television within the purchase price OR when you dispose of the item?””:

  • Fee at disposal - 44 per cent
  • Fee at purchase - 49 per cent
  • Depends - 2 per cent
  • Unsure - 5 per cent

Among those who earlier declared they would be willing to pay for the safe disposal of their television or computer, 48 per cent stated a preference for paying at disposal while 51 per cent preferred to pay a fee at purchase; 1 per cent were unsure.