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eDay aims to clean up NZ’s e-waste

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National computer recycling event launches - eDay aims to clean up NZ’s e-waste

eDay, a free computer recycling event being held in 32 centres throughout New Zealand on Saturday October 4 [Sunday October 5 in Hamilton], is expected to divert 1,000 tonnes of potentially toxic waste from landfills.

The drive-through events enable residents in 32 centres from Kaitaia to Invercargill to recycle their old computer equipment and mobile phones in an environmentally-friendly way, and are aimed at raising awareness about the environmental and health dangers of dumping electronic waste (e-waste) in landfills.

eDay 2008 was officially launched today in Wellington at an event attended by Environment Minister Trevor Mallard, eDay organisers and supporters. "eDay is a fantastic opportunity for households to do the right thing for the environment. It's great to see that manufacturers and communities are actively taking responsibility to divert harmful e-waste from landfill. It's better for the environment, and also gives a second life to valuable materials that can be recycled and reused. I strongly urge everyone with electronic waste to support the environment by taking part in eDay," Trevor Mallard said.

National Organiser and Chairperson of the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ), Laurence 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. “Our aim with eDay is to educate New Zealanders of the dangers of dumping e-waste in landfill while giving them the opportunity to dispose of unwanted computer items in a safe way,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

New Zealand’s first eDay, held in 2007, diverted 415 tonnes of e-waste from landfills. Following the success of last year’s event, eDay in 2008 has expanded from 12 to 32 centres across New Zealand.

The annual eDay event is the only community-driven e-waste recycling event for dropping off computer items such as monitors, CPUs and printers, at no cost to the public. Organisers expect a two to three year lifespan for the event until legislative change is implemented and industry product stewardship schemes take effect.

“A significant milestone was reached by Parliament on Thursday 11 September 2008 with the third reading of the Waste Minimisation Bill, but this is just one step towards a long-term solution for New Zealand’s e-waste. It is still likely to be two to three years before industry-supported schemes for recycling e-waste are fully operational. eDay is helping to plug the gap and buy New Zealand a little more time without generating new problems in our landfills,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

Only computers, computer peripherals such as printers and scanners, gaming consoles and mobile phones can be recycled in the eDay collection. Other electronic equipment including televisions and stereos will not be accepted. “We know that TVs and other electronic equipment pose similar threats to our environment, but because of the huge variety in size and weight of this equipment, we don’t think it is fair to ask volunteers to handle TVs,” said Mr Zwimpfer. “The best advice we can give is for the public to hold onto their old TVs until sustainable solutions are available.”

CANZ advises people to wipe all data from computer hard drives as well as removable media such as floppy disks and PC cards before handing them over for collection.

The event is supported nationally by The Ministry for the Environment, 2020 Communications Trust, KiwiRail, Pub Charity, Computer Recycling Limited, the NZ Lotteries Commission, Dell, Toshiba, Trade Me, The Laptop Company and The Ministry of Education which funds the Computer Access NZ Trust.

The event is being held in Invercargill, Wanaka, Alexandra, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, Amberley, Blenheim, Nelson, Takaka, Wellington, Paraparaumu, Masterton, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Hawera, Stratford, New Plymouth, Waipukurau, Napier, Wairoa, Gisborne, Opotiki, Rotorua, Whakatane, Tauranga, Auckland (North Shore and Auckland City), Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia from 9am to 3pm on Saturday 4 October.

eDay will be held in Hamilton from 9am to 3pm on Sunday 5 October. For site details, visit www.eday.org.nz.

eDay 2008 is a drive-through event and is open to cars only. Businesses and schools are advised to visit www.eday.org.nz for alternate disposal options and more information about e-waste.


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