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Exporting electronic waste

An electronic product is anything that needs a plug or battery to operate. Electronic waste is any electronic product that is not intended for re-use. This ‘waste’ status can be determined by a number of factors such as physical damage, functional failure, and the way it is packaged for transporting.

Many items of electronic waste are classified as hazardous, meaning they have special requirements for transportation and treatment. Items classed as hazardous include (but are not limited to):

  • mobile phones
  • computer monitors
  • televisions
  • printed circuit boards
  • photocopiers
  • fluorescent lamps.

Requirements for exporting electronic waste

New Zealand is a signatory to the Basel Convention. One reason the convention was set up is to prevent hazardous wastes being shipped from developed countries to inappropriate facilities in less-developed countries.

The export of electronic waste to these countries is not necessarily banned, but must be closely controlled through permitting systems to protect the importing countries’ environment and people.

Under the NZ Order permits are needed for the export of these e-wastes to OECD countries as well. For some e-wastes the process for the EPA obtaining country consent is different. This does not change the information that applicants must provide in the application.

If you want to export electronic waste that is classified as hazardous, you need to comply with the requirements for exporting hazardous waste, and apply for a permit. Without the right permits your shipment may be seized at a New Zealand port, or may be refused entry en route or at the destination.

Get more information

Cover of the infosheet 'Export of electronic waste'.
Learn more about e-waste (information sheet):

Export of electronic waste (e-waste) (pdf, 1.5 mb)

More guidance on which types of e-waste may be able to be exported for recycling, and which may not, can be found in the Ministry for the Environment's document Managing waste that may contain brominated flame retardants (BFR).