Kiwis cleared their homes of an estimated 900 tonnes of old computer equipment and mobile phones today in New Zealand's fourth national eDay.
17,787 cars, the largest number since eDay's inception in 2007, passed through eDay sites around the country dropping off an estimated 77,000 items of computer and computer related equipment and mobile phones for safe recycling.
The free drive-through recycling event was held in 53 drop-off locations across the country today, up from 38 locations last year.
National organiser, Laurence Zwimpfer of the eDay New Zealand Trust, said the response around the country was phenomenal.
"The amount collected today filled over 110 shipping containers which is a phenomenal result. It demonstrates that there is clearly a lot of old computers out there being stored in cupboards and garages and New Zealanders want a solution to disposing of this gear in an environmentally friendly way," Mr Zwimpfer said.
eDay gave households, schools, community groups and businesses the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment and mobile phones quickly and in an environmentally-sound way. The day was aimed at diverting computer waste from landfill while raising awareness about the benefits of recycling computers.
The Government estimates that there are 80,000 tonnes of electronic waste disposed of into landfills in New Zealand per year.
Mr Zwimpfer said electronic waste (e-waste) and its toxic materials, including lead and mercury from old computers, is globally the fastest growing waste stream - posing a potential toxic hazard to the environment. Land filling e-waste also does not allow for the recovery and reuse of valuable materials such as gold.
"I think we've helped raise New Zealand's awareness of the dangers of dumping electronic waste in landfill over the past four years. However with this much stuff still being dropped off at eDay sites, we have to get serious about a long term solution," Mr Zwimpfer said.
The eDay New Zealand Trust advocates for compulsory product stewardship whereby manufacturers are responsible for e-waste disposal by including the cost of recycling into the final price of new products.
"The Government is taking steps in the right direction by funding eDay 2010 and new community e-waste recycling facilities and we applaud them for this. However we believe legislation is needed to begin to see a real, positive difference in the amount of this stuff going to our landfills," Mr Zwimpfer continued.
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 recycling of the equipment collected today will be managed under an agreement between the Ministry for the Environment and a computer recycler, who is still to be appointed.
eDay 2010 was primarily funded through the Ministry for the Environment's Waste Minimisation Fund with support from local authorities and local businesses around the country. eDay 2010 was supported nationally by the 2020 Communications Trust, KiwiRail, MORE FM, the Blue Star Group, Trade Me and industry partners, The Laptop Company and Invo.
Collectable computers identified at Wellington today are being auctioned on a special Trade Me Charity Auction with proceeds contributing to some of the costs of eDay. Items collected include an Apple IIe, Commodore Amiga, several old Macintosh computers and some Dick Smith PCs with built in tape decks, circa 1980. For more details, visit www.eday.org.nz and select the link from the homepage.
"Thanks to all our eDay 2010 partners and volunteers for helping us divert e-waste from landfill. We have had a tremendous amount of positive feedback from people around the country today so if legislation isn't in place and there is still a need for eDay, we would like to run it again in 2011," Mr Zwimpfer concluded.