TV Takeback

‘E-waste’ – waste electrical and electronic equipment – is a fast-growing problem in New Zealand. Every year about 80,000 tonnes of e-waste is disposed of in New Zealand. Many of these products contain toxic substances such as lead.

TV TakeBack is part of the Ministry for the Environment’s e-waste work programme setting guidelines for managing and handling this waste in an environmentally sound manner. It has been launched to coincide with the switchover from analogue to digital television – due to be complete by December 2013 – to encourage the safe and responsible recycling of unwanted televisions.

While you do not need a new TV to watch digital – you only need Freeview, SKY, Igloo or TelstraClear – some New Zealanders are using it as an opportunity to upgrade their TV sets.

TV recycling allows for the valuable materials such as copper and steel to be recovered and reused for other products – and for the hazardous ones to be disposed of safely.

Televisions – particularly old TVs with a cathode ray tube (CRT) – contain hazardous substances such as lead that can leach into the soils and lead to environmental problems.

All types of TVs can be recycled. Precious and ‘rare’ earth’ metals such as gold and iridium are removed and recovered in specialist facilities overseas and used in new electronic items. Other metals such as steel are melted down and used in new items for the construction or agricultural industries. Glass is sent overseas to be remanufactured into new CRTs.

Recyclers are also investigating new processes and solutions for the recycling of leaded and unleaded glass.

The Ministry for the Environment has a range of information available on its website with regards to the recycling of other electronic devices in addition to televisions.

Many electronics brands operate take-back and recycling services, for a reasonable fee or for free, for their own branded equipment, for example; Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, Apple and Toshiba. Information can be found on their New Zealand websites.

You can also make a difference by reusing and upgrading your equipment. It is better for the environment to repair and upgrade your equipment, than replace it with something new. Some products can be upgraded by replacing one or two components instead of the entire unit. You can also buy second-hand equipment to give used products a new life.

Also, be selective. When purchasing new equipment, choose products that have a reduced environmental impact, such as computer equipment and televisions that use less energy, are made with recyclable and recycled materials, and are easier to upgrade, fix and recycle.

A list of drop off points in TV TakeBack regions is available 

To find out about recycling other electronic products go to


Facebook to add clickable hashtags

Using the simple ‘#’ sign to identify topical or ‘trending’ themes was first popularised online by the popular Twitter site.

Adding the hashtag sign to a word or name turns it into a clickable link – allowing fellow users to see what other people around the world are saying about the topic and assess its news status.

Facebook users have already adopted the symbol; its use can already be seen on the social media site thanks to the multiple sharing capabilities of many new programs and services. But until now these hashtags have served no function on Facebook:

“To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about. To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics,” the company announced yesterday.

The advent of various other services that support hashtags, like Pinterest, Instagram, tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn, has further improved the value and reach of all matter of campaigns from humanitarian and environmental causes to advertising.

In a statement released on the California-based company’s website, Facebook said the new function will offer users a “larger view of what’s happening”. Experts agree, arguing that it could aid the company’s ad sales.

“Hashtags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations,”the statement read.

“We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations.”

When clicking on the symbol, Facebook users will view a chronological ordered list of comments using the same word or term – this will include posts from people and pages that they are not connected with.

However users will still be able to control which Facebook users can view the hastags and accompanying posts.