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Fund helps keep more toxic waste out of landfills

Media release
16th April 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sustainable Management Fund helps keep more toxic waste out of landfills

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard has announced a funding boost for eDay 2008 with $200,000 granted from the Government’s Sustainable Management Fund. The funding will help build eDay local capacity, allowing the event to expand to more regions across the country, as well as aid in developing local skills in handling e-waste.

eDay 2007, New Zealand’s first community-driven national electronic waste recycling event, diverted 415 tonnes of computer waste from landfills. More than 6,900 carloads of electronic waste (e-waste) was dropped off at 12 venues over two days with more than 26,000 computer items including monitors, CPUs and printers diverted from being dumped in New Zealand's landfills.

Laurence Zwimpfer of the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ), organisers of the event, says the funding is the first milestone in ensuring eDay 2008 can expand from 12 regions in 2007 to a potential 30 regions this year.

“The success of last year’s event proved that New Zealanders have been looking for a sustainable way to dispose of e-waste for sometime,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

“We have received interest from close to 30 regions that are keen to host eDay locally, through which we could potentially divert 1,000 tonnes of e-waste from our landfills. While this is fantastic news for our environment, CANZ a non-profit organisation cannot cover the cost of environmentally safe disposal of this equipment on our own.”

“We are thrilled the Sustainable Management Fund is able to kick off our funding bid. Corporate and community support is now needed,” he continued.

The purpose of the Sustainable Management Fund is to support community groups, iwi, businesses and local government in taking practical actions that produce long-term environmental benefits.

Land and water conservation, climate change, and sustainability were the focus of seven national projects which have received provisional grants under the Sustainable Management Fund.

“We are delighted to be supporting such valuable projects that encourage wide community involvement and promote practical action to produce long-term environmental benefits,” Trevor Mallard said.

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 and long-term hazard for 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.

eDay gives people the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment and mobile phones quickly in an environmentally-friendly way, and is aimed at raising awareness about the environmental and health dangers of e-waste dumped in landfills.

“One of our key aims is to increase community awareness of the hazardous nature of electronic equipment, making it clear that disposal in landfills is not a sustainable option,” he concluded.

eDay 2008 is expected to take place in September. Venue details will be released shortly.

CANZ and eDay is an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust. The 2020 Communications Trust has been working to address the issues of safe and sustainable ICT use in communities for more than 10 years. For more details visit www.2020.org.nz

ends

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