Council salvages e-waste
A new drop-off centre for e-waste in Blenheim salvaged 530 items during the first month of its trial period, Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says.
The Blenheim Transfer Station, opposite the Resource Recovery Centre off Taylor Pass Rd, has collected 5.6 tonnes of electronic waste such as televisions, computers and stereos since it opened in May.
It has generated $4600 in that time, enough to sustain the collection point after the three-month trail period ends in July, according to Mr McNeil.
However, half of the 5.6 tonnage had been salvaged by staff at the Resource Recovery Centre rather than members of the public taking their disused TV sets and printers to the e-waste site, Mr McNeil said.
"People turn up with a trailer of mixed waste, including a TV, and they are not prepared to take the TV out and take it to the e-waste facility. So guys at the resource centre pull it to one side and salvage it. We are still getting the items but not direct to the [e-waste] site."
The cost of discarding stereos, televisions and computers at the e-waste site was no more expensive than at the Resource Recovery Centre, he said. "Cost-wise it works out the same, but people are not prepared to separate it."
The council manager was urging people to start separating their electronic waste.
"If you are taking mixed waste, leave the electronic items in the car or on top of the waste and drop them off on your way past."
Regardless, Mr McNeil is pleased with the money generated during the first month of the trial.
"That is enough to cover our costs," he said. "If that was sustained we could keep the programme going."
However, he warned that the programme would not continue if numbers dropped off. "So far, so good. However, the question is, can it be repeated month after month?"
Marlborough District Council assets and services committee member John Leggett said the e-waste programme would be an educational process.
"It was always going to be interesting to see how this would be accepted by people dumping rubbish," he said.
"It's a pretty new concept so we'll see how much people buy into it and understand it. Staff at the Recovery Centre are doing their best to educate people."
The electronic items are sent to Metal Corps in Christchurch for processing. They recover, reuse or recycle electronic components, metals and plastics.
Desktop computers $5
Computer monitors $10
LCD screens $10
Video players $5
Other items, eg photocopiers $5
- The Marlborough Express