Help us stop appliances going to landfill

Are retailers sending your returned products straight to landfill? Help us find out.

We need your help to find out if retailers are sending returned appliances straight to landfill.

This year, we investigated what happens when a new but faulty appliance is returned to the store. Using hidden GPS trackers, we found retailers like Kmart and The Warehouse sent returned benchtop mixers directly to the landfill.

No repair. No recycling. Just straight to the tip.

We're planning more product tracking, so we can hold major retailers and manufacturers accountable for their landfill dumping.

This time, we'll be tracking printers, stick vacuum cleaners and toasters. But we can't do this alone. A tracking investigation is not cheap, so we need your help.

How we can fix our e-waste problem.

Each year we throw out approximately 97,000 tonnes of unwanted or broken electrical waste – one of the highest per capita amounts on the planet. 

We think three pieces of legislation are needed to fix our e-waste problem:

Product stewardship: Every electrical appliance or electronic device placed on sale attracts a stewardship fee to pay for recycling, repair and refurbishment.

The Right to Repair: This legislation compels manufacturers to make spare parts, repair instructions, tools and software available to independent repairers.

Durability labelling: If consumers can choose based on how long products will last and how repairable they are, manufacturers will be forced to lift their game. We've launched a petition to make it happen. 

Products aren’t built to last anymore

For many companies, it’s more profitable to sell cheaply made products that can be replaced, rather than repaired. 

There is no accountability for manufacturers. There are no repairability rules or regulations to stop faulty products heading to landfill.   

We need more durable products

We can only choose good products if we have good information. That means knowing which products are more durable and easier to repair. Manufacturers don't tell us that.  

We're calling for a durability label. This would help New Zealanders make better purchasing decisions. If we can choose based on durability, manufacturers will be forced to lift their game.   

So, what exactly is a durability label? 

A durability label is a score that rates how repairable a product is and how long it’s expected to last. This score would be required to be displayed on the product. The label rates products on:  

  • Whether repair documentation is available to independent repairers and/or consumers 
  • How easy it is to disassemble the product 
  • Availability of spare parts 
  • Price of spare parts 
  • Any other criteria specific to the product type. 

We wouldn't be the first in the world to roll this out - the French have already successfully rolled out a similar durability assessment.  

Sign the petition

In New Zealand, millions of appliances are needlessly being dumped because they can't be repaired.  We are the only country in the OECD without regulations to stop this waste, so a lot of faulty products end up in landfill.  

We're calling for a durability label to help New Zealanders make better purchasing decisions. If we can choose based on how long they'll last and how repairable they are, manufacturers will be forced to lift their game.   

Sign the petition to tell the government to mandate a durability label and help combat the mounting e-waste problem. 

What we're doing

Our investigation so far

We wanted to find out just what happens to products when they break. We bought bench mixers from The Warehouse, Briscoes, Kmart and Farmers and created an easy to repair fault and fitted them with trackers. We then returned them to the store and tracked their journeys to find out exactly where our purchased products ended up. Spoiler – for many, it was the landfill.  

Read the full story

We've changed the way we test

With our new lifetime scoring, we only recommend products that last. We still test products' performance, but we’re now including measures of reliability, owner satisfaction and repairability. This is a small step, which is why we want durability labelling for all New Zealanders, to make informed purchasing decisions.  

Learn more

Consume This podcast

What do retailers do with nearly new, but faulty, small appliances? We used GPS trackers to follow faulty goods to their final destinations. Listen to our podcast to see where they end up.