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Appendix: Deficiencies in Present Arrangements for Some Wastes

 

Product

Current arrangements

Environmental costs and impacts

Tyres1

  • 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.

Used oil

  • 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.

E-waste

  • 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.

Packaging

  • 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.

Farm chemicals

  • 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.

Farm plastics3

 
  • 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.

Notes:

1 Firecone 2004. Management of End-of-Life Tyres

2 S Cassells 2001. Deficiencies in New Zealand's Approach to Recycling End-of-Life Vehicles. Massey Dept Applied and International Economics.

3 URS and NZIER 2003. Life Cycle Analysis for the Management of Waste Farm Plastics and Economic Analysis of Waste Farm Plastic Management Options.