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eDay launches in the Pacific today

eDay launches in the Pacific today

eDay, New Zealand’s only free computer recycling event recently held on 6 November, will be launched in a Pacific Island country for the first time today.

Businesses and residents in the Cook Islands can dispose of their old PCs, computer peripherals and mobile phones for safe recycling at eDay, being held today at the Te Atukura grounds in Rarotonga.

Organised by a local team in Rarotonga including the Cook Islands National Environment Service, the Cook Islands Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning and local businesses, and supported from New Zealand by the eDay New Zealand Trust, eDay Cook Islands has been launched in response to concerns around the volume of e-waste accumulating in the Cook Islands.

Pua Hunter, the ICT Director for the Prime Minister’s Office in Rarotonga, has been instrumental in coordinating local efforts. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the eDay programme. E-waste is a growing concern for us with no local options for recycling or safe disposal. We welcome the support being provided from New Zealand by the eDay Trust.”

Mr Zwimpfer, Chair of the eDay New Zealand Trust, said e-waste and its toxic materials, including lead and mercury from old computers, is globally the fastest growing type of waste - posing a potential toxic hazard for people, animals and the environment.

A preliminary survey of computer waste in government agencies in Rarotonga indicated that up to 30 tonnes could be waiting for recycling. “We are making provision for up to five containers of e-waste to be collected as part of eDay Cook Islands and shipped back to New Zealand,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

“With that many computers becoming redundant in the Cook Islands, and no option to dispose of them, we are very happy to launch eDay in the Pacific,” Mr Zwimpfer said. “We suspect that most of the computers came from New Zealand in the first place, so the least we can do is help our Pacific neighbours dispose of this old equipment when it reaches end of life.”

”We are treating eDay Cook Islands as a pilot and if this is successful we would like to see the programme extended to other Pacific Island countries in the future; we know that all our Pacific Island neighbours are facing the same challenge with their e-waste,” he said.

The containers of e-waste collected in Rarotonga will be fumigated to meet New Zealand’s strict agricultural guidelines and then shipped to New Zealand for recycling as part of the e-waste collected at New Zealand’s eDay events. Reef Shipping has agreed to provide the containers and make space available on one of their ships during a scheduled visit to the Cook Islands. The recycling process for all the eDay 2010 e-waste, including that collected in the Cook Islands, is being managed under an agreement between the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment and a computer recycler, who is still to be appointed.

At New Zealand's fourth national eDay, held on Saturday 6 November 2010, 17,787 cars passed through 53 eDay sites around the country dropping off an estimated 77,000 items of computer and computer related equipment and mobile phones.

Since eDay’s inception in 2007, approximately 58,000 cars have dropped off 274,000 items of computer and computer-related waste for safe recycling, diverting an estimated 3,200 tonnes of e-waste from landfills.

The eDay New Zealand Trust is an independent community trust set up specifically to promote the responsible recycling of electronic waste in New Zealand and the Pacific.

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