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eDay 2009, the chance to dispose of e-waste

eDay 2009 offers more NZ communities the chance to safely dispose of e-waste

Computer Access New Zealand (CANZ) has announced another eDay (free computer recycling day), for 12 September 2009, with the aim of diverting over 1,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) from landfills in up to 40 regions – an increase from the 31 regions that participated in 2008.

e-waste is the fastest growing waste problem globally and New Zealand is no exception; over 87,000 computer related items were diverted from local landfills at last year’s eDay.

Now in its third year, the annual eDay event is the only nationwide community e-waste recycling event for disposing of computer items and mobile phones in an environmentally sustainable way, at no cost to the public.

“The passing into legislation of the Waste Minimisation Act in September 2008 was an important step forward in developing a long-term sustainable solution but it could take another three years before e-waste schemes are fully operational. We are pleased to announce another eDay to ensure that hazardous and scarce materials are not buried in our landfills in the interim,” said Laurence Zwimpfer, Chairperson of CANZ and organiser of the eDay event.

Securing funding for eDay is the biggest challenge for CANZ, a not-for-profit trust, in the current economic climate. The programme relies on support from a wide range of partners including computer manufacturers and distributors, businesses, community trusts, local authorities and central Government. Mr Zwimpfer says we all have a responsibility to help protect our environment and welcomes further support.

“There are real costs involved in collecting and safely recycling e-waste and we rely 100% on sponsorship and volunteers, hence we’d welcome support from anyone willing to help us ensure that our old computers are properly recycled. This means that scarce and valuable materials can be reused rather than buried in our landfills,” he says.

CANZ has again received funding support for eDay 2009 from the Ministry for the Environment through the Sustainable Management Fund. “This support from government has given us the confidence to proceed. Along with support from local and regional councils in each eDay area we can start planning for another successful eDay in 2009,” he says.

National transport operator KiwiRail and international e-waste recycler, CRTNZ, are again confirmed as national partners for 2009. “We are delighted that both these partners who helped us in 2008 are willing to provide support again. KiwiRail is providing a sustainable transport option for freighting e-waste to central points, and after evaluating a number of proposals, CRTNZ was selected to provide logistics and recycling support,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

Corporate support is being led by Meridian Energy. Other confirmed corporate supporters include More FM, Dell, Canon, Printlink, The Laptop Company, Trade Me, InternetNZ, Chorus and NZICT.

“We want to thank these partners in particular for confirming their early support. We are grateful to have them partner with us but we need even more support to cover all our expected costs and are looking forward to a similar positive response from others,” Mr Zwimpfer says.

A key component of the eDay programme is School eDay which will again be taking place this year. School eDay is being supported at the national level by Equico and the Ministry of Education as well as a number of local partners who will provide drop-off centres for schools during the two weeks leading up to eDay. School eDay enables schools to safely dispose of unused computer equipment while teaching students about the benefits of recycling and the risks of disposing of e-waste in landfills. In 2008, 20% of the total e-waste collected (nearly 200 tonnes) came from schools and a similar amount is expected this year.

As well as e-waste disposal information, all schools will be provided with educational posters and a downloadable schools’ kit that contains fun activities for students to learn about sustainable e-waste disposal and IT energy conservation. With the support of the Microsoft NZ Partners in Learning Programme and NTICED, an Australian educational software developer, the kit will include a new activity utilising the animation software MARVIN and eDay’s e-Waste Eddie character.

eDay and School eDay give people the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment and mobile phones quickly in an environmentally-friendly way, and are aimed at raising awareness about the importance of recovering and reusing valuable metals (copper, aluminium) and other materials (plastics, glass) as well as the environmental and health dangers of e-waste dumped in landfills.

Event updates will be posted on the eDay website, www.eday.org.nz, as venue details and school drop-off centres are confirmed in each region. Volunteers wishing to help out at an eDay in their area are invited to sign-up online at the eDay website.

CANZ and eDay are initiatives of the 2020 Communications Trust. The 2020 Communications Trust has been supporting the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in communities throughout New Zealand for more than 12 years.

ENDS

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