New Zealand's national eDay diverts nearly 300 tonnes of computer waste from landfills
On 29-30 September, at the occasion of national eDay, Kiwis (a nickname for New Zealand's people) cleared their homes of nearly 300 tonnes of old computer equipment and mobile phones, diverting them from being dumped in landfills.
eDay, a free drive-through event was held in Wellington, Invercargill, Wanaka, Alexandra, Queenstown, Wanganui, Rotorua, Whakatane, Tauranga and Hamilton from 9am to 3pm yesterday (Saturday 29 September), and on Auckland's North Shore and Manukau City from 10am to 2pm today (Sunday 30 September).
National organiser, Laurence Zwimpfer, IFAP's chair (UNESCO's Information for All Programme), said the response around the country was phenomenal, with more than 6,900 carloads of electronic waste (e-waste) dropped off at 12 venues over two days. Thanks to the event, more than 26,000 computer items including monitors, CPUs and printers were diverted from being dumped in New Zealand's landfills.
"This doesn't include all the little items such as keyboards, circuit boards and mice that will also be recycled," Mr Zwimpfer said.
Trade Me founder and eDay supporter, Sam Morgan, joined the Wellington collection yesterday, delivering old computer equipment to the Westpac Stadium carpark site and helping to unload vehicles, while Green MP Nandor Tanczos rolled his sleeves up and worked at the Hamilton event at the corner of Empire & High Streets, Frankton.
Nandor said the public response was fantastic. "I thought there'd be a bit of stuff handed over but when I turned up & saw all this gear I thought 'far out'. It demonstrates that New Zealanders have been looking for an opportunity to get rid of old computer equipment in an environmentally conscious way and demonstrates the real need for companies producing electronic gear to take responsibility for the end-of-life disposal of their products," he said.
eDay gave people the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment and mobile phones quickly in an environmentally-friendly way, and was aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of e-waste dumped in landfills.
Mr Zwimpfer said e-waste and its toxic materials, including lead and mercury from old computers, is globally the fastest growing type of waste being sent to landfill - posing a potential toxic hazard for people, animals and the environment.
He said more than 250,000 obsolete computers are being stored in New Zealand homes. A recent survey by the CANZ estimated over 10 million electronic devices were being used in New Zealand, with nearly one million being added each year.
"I think we've helped raise New Zealand's awareness of the dangers of dumping electronic waste in landfill. That was one of our key aims and we're really happy with the result," Mr Zwimpfer said.
"Following this weekend's success we're keen to support additional communities who want to get involved next year. A number of regions have already expressed interest," he concluded.
The total collected throughout the weekend was more than five times the amount handed in during a Dell pilot computer recycling day held in Wellington last year.
eDay is a community initiative designed to raise awareness of the hazardous nature of electronic waste (e-waste), while offering an easy way for households to dispose of old computers and mobile phones in an environmentally sustainable manner.
eDay was created in response to a growing concern about the volume of e-waste being dumped in landfills around the country with a potentially toxic effect on the environment.
The event was launched in Wellington in 2006 with an extremely successful pilot sponsored by Dell. Fifty-four tonnes of unused computer hardware were collected in one day. eDay 2007 was extended to 12 locations throughout New Zealand.
eDay 2007 is supported nationally by Computer Access New Zealand (CANZ), The Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Education, 2020 Communications Trust, Divers, Remarkit, TES-AMM, Dell and Trade Me.