New Zealand currently manages its annually-generated 99,000 tonnes of e-waste via voluntary product stewardship schemes. Limited data is available to determine the success of this approach. This lack of data is cited as the logic preventing the declaration of e-waste as a priority product by the Minister for the Environment which would trigger the enforcement of mandatory product stewardship. This case study involved an online survey of 264 Whangarei District householders asking questions about e-waste creation and management, as well as analyses of local services, and local and national policy. It found that only 1.8% of the estimated e-waste created in the district is recycled by municipal services, with the ‘cost to recycle’ and ‘a lack of knowledge’ presenting barriers to engagement in these services. The ‘lack of ability to repair/the cost to repair’ was found to be the most significant driver for e-waste creation. The adoption of mandatory product stewardship for e-waste was recommended to ensure robust and transparent data collection, see recycling services become more accessible, and raise awareness of these services, thus reducing the value-action gap. Mandatory e-waste management would also impact product design to ensure affordable repair-ability, further supporting a circular economy for electronic goods.
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