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Free computer recycling on Saturday

4 Nov 2010

Free computer recycling on Saturday

Tairawhiti residents can dispose of their old PCs, computer peripherals and mobile phones at eDay this Saturday.  eDay is being held at over 50 drop-off locations throughout New Zealand, including Gisborne, and is expected to divert 1,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) from landfills.

The community drive-through event is an opportunity for households, schools, community groups and small businesses to clear out their garages and cupboards of computer equipment and old mobile phones, to be recycled for free.

Last year’s eDay in Gisborne diverted 27 tonnes of e-waste from local landfills, with 412 cars dropping off unwanted computer equipment. 

This year, the local event is being held at the Railway Yard, Grey Street between 9am and 3pm on Saturday 6 November.

Council's environmental educator Anne Lister said eDay is giving locals the chance to dispose of their e-waste in an environmentally sound way.   “This is just another way people of Gisborne can reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.  This is followed the next day by Secondhand Sunday. Registrations for this are open until Thursday. Also this year the Paintwise programme has started up in Gisborne offering the ability to recycle old paint and containers.”

This year eDay organisers are encouraging communities to work together to collect their neighbourhood e-waste. Collecting it in one place and taking one trip to the drop-off locations saves time and reduces vehicle emissions.

The Government estimates that there are 80,000 tonnes of electronic waste disposed of into landfills in New Zealand per year. eDay national organiser, Laurence Zwimpfer of the eDay New Zealand Trust, said eDay is aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of dumping e-waste in landfills and the benefits of recycling computer equipment.

“With that many computers being sent to landfill, and the options to dispose of them very limited, it is important that equipment is recycled wherever possible. Landfilling e-waste is a danger to our environment due to its toxic nature and does not allow for the recovery and reuse of precious material such as gold,” said Mr Zwimpfer.

Since eDay’s inception in 2007, approximately 40,000 cars have dropped off 196,000 items of computer and computer-related waste for safe recycling, diverting 2,337 tonnes of e-waste from landfills.   Despite these results, as a long term solution, eDay New Zealand advocates for compulsory product stewardship and still says eDay is just an interim measure until this is in place.   “Until legislation is in place, eDay is helping to buy New Zealand a little more time without generating new problems in our landfills,” Mr Zwimpfer continued.

eDay is a community event organised by the eDay New Zealand Trust, and is supported by nearly 100 organisations throughout the country. eDay 2010 is funded through the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund. eDay 2010 is supported nationally by the 2020 Communications Trust, KiwiRail, More FM, the Blue Star Group, Trade Me and industry partners, The Laptop Company and Invo.

Material that can be disposed of at eDay 2010 includes all computer-related equipment, game consoles, fax machines and digital cameras. The Trust also accepts mobile phones although this year is encouraging people to donate them to Starship’s Mobile Phone Recycling Appeal. Other electronic equipment including televisions will not be accepted.

eDay New Zealand Trust 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 recycling.

The recycling of the computer equipment to be collected this year will be managed under an agreement between the Ministry for the Environment and an external recycler, who is still to be appointed.

For more details visit www.eday.org.nz(external link) Volunteers wishing to help out at eDay are invited to sign-up online at the eDay website or contact Gisborne District Council.

For more information about eDay