Environmental costs and impacts
- A voluntary tyre collection system is managed by the Motor Trade Association: companies under direct management of New Zealand tyre manufacturers are members of Tyre Track, along with a spread of independent tyre dealers and garages.
- A high proportion of tyres were hitherto taken by dairy farmers.
- There is a very small quantity of recycling through sites in Auckland, Wanganui and Otaki.
- Tighter controls under Litter Act have the potential to help, but they are not the full solution.
- Councils already face major legal and enforcement costs associated with end-of-life tyres.
- Tyre disposal issues are likely to increase as demand from dairy farmers for tyres declines.
- The high risk of fighting tyre fires is a major risk for councils ($100,000 for the last significant Waikato fire).
- Companies are signing up with Tyre Track but are still unwilling to charge disposal fees out of line with those of competitors (still resistant to cost of shredding).
- The cost of unauthorised storage is still below the point at which companies are willing to invest in legitimate activities.
- Voluntary collection has operated since 1996.
- There is a good recovery infrastructure (a national network of collectors, subject to a code of practice through contract with Holcim).
- Take-back arrangements are in place for industrial and commercial customers, providing they use a sole oil supplier.
- About 21 million litres of oil can be accounted for, out of a possible 33–40 million litres; 13 million litres is used as substitute fuel by Holcim, Westport.
- Large oil companies are unwilling to increase their commitment in the absence of a level playing field.
- There is minimal producer responsibility for oil sold through the retail sector (collection costs have been progressively shifted to councils and landfills).
- There is no coverage for businesses buying from two or more oil companies.
- 10–20 million litres of oil is unaccounted for.
End-of-life vehicles 2
- The cost of retrieving and dismantling abandoned end-of-life vehicles presently falls on councils.
- Dismantling of old cars is undertaken by auto wreckers, who on-sell as parts and/or pass on to scrap metal dealers.
- Tow firms and others are left holding vehicles impounded for reasons such as unpaid fines
- Voluntary collection arrangements apply to the collection of refrigerant.
- Costs to councils of managing end-of-life cars assessed at $6 million annually. This is in spite of a healthy market for scrap metal.
- Environmental degradation, costs to private landowners etc is not costed but is real.
- Auto dismantlers are a significant monitoring and enforcement issue for councils.
- Voluntary collection systems are run by five individual companies: Vodafone, Telecom, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Fisher & Paykel.
- Voluntary initiatives are limited geographically.
- The domestic recycling infrastructure is poorly developed.
- It is estimated there is up to 85,000 tonnes of e-waste per year.
- Small quantities are collected by individual systems:
- 1 million mobile phones are potentially available for recycling per year, but Vodafone and Telecom are collecting fewer than 70,000 per year.
- Hewlett Packard (approximately 30% of New Zealand's personal computer market) report 728 tonnes collected for the entire Asia-Pacific region in 2003.
- Dell's take-back system has been suspended for most of 2004 due to difficulties with their Australian recycling contractor.
- Hazardous substances in equipment are being disposed of to landfill: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, brominated flame retardants.
- The new Packaging Accord was launched in August 2004. This requires sector groups to set targets to reduce the life-cycle impact of packaging they manufacture, or use on goods they produce.
- The new Accord was negotiated in spite of resistance from many within the packaging sectors.
- It is most likely to be effective on a voluntary basis if the promise of regulation is perceived as real.
- There are high implementation costs associated with the voluntary Packaging Accord.
- There is a high degree of public concern about packaging, leading in particular to demand for a tax on plastic bags and deposits on drink containers.
- Safe handling and disposal of current products is influenced by HSNO legislation, but HSNO does not apply to orphan products.
- Collection systems are run by councils, and chemicals are disposed of in New Zealand or shipped overseas depending on type.
- Growers face some incentives from exporters looking for safely or sustainably grown products (eg, apples for market). However, these incentives cover only a small part of the market. The relatively high cost of new, patented products means consumers have an incentive to use older, out-of-patent products where feasible.
- Large chemical companies willing.
- The cost to government of the present recovery regime is $0.5 million per annum, and total costs to councils are estimated to be at least as high.
- There are risks that stockpiles will again accumulate on farms as farming practices change, farmers over-buy, products become outdated or properties change hands.
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- The predominant form of use appears to be on-farm burning - the cheapest option, but the one that has the worst environmental outcomes.
- To get plastic off farms and into a recycling system would cost an additional $55–60/tonne. However, administration of a levy scheme for farm plastics would cost $377/tonne for LDPE film and $0.51 per container.