New Zealand held nationwide collection sites for consumers to ditch their old computer equipment in a healthy and environmentally friendly way on October 4, 2008. The project dubbed ‘eDay’ approximated 946 tonnes of used technology in the second annual amnesty. An extra day at Hamilton was held the next day.

Most electronic waste is sent to landfills where it harms the envrionment through leakage of lead and mercury found in computers. Last year a compartively mere 415 tonnes of e-waste was disposed of in just 12-centres across New Zealand. Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ) had 32 drop off posts running this year.

“The response around the country was fantastic; the total collected today filled close to 100 containers,” National eDay co-ordinator, Laurence Zwimpfer, said.

Of the huge amount of recycled computer equipment dropped off, 77,000 of all things donated included computer-related equipment such as monitors, CPUs and printers. However, in comparison, around 16 million electronic devices like TVs and computers are in use in New Zealand currently; growing at a rate of one million a year.

All of the monitors will be sent to Auckland to be tested and, if still in working order, will be donated for use.

Sponser of eDay, TradeMe, will also be holding special auctions of some of the items collected at the free drive through collection depots. TradeMe is New Zealand’s biggest online auction site.

Mr Zwimpfer said, “All equipment collected through eDay will be recycled by accredited recyclers who have advised us that over 95% of the materials in a computer can be recovered and re-used. Precious materials such as copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver can all be recovered from e-waste and turned into new products instead of being dumped in landfills.”

While the event isn’t a Government-run scheme, New Zealand’s Envrionment Minister, Trevor Mallard, was in attendance at the Wellington site – as was Green Party co-leader Russel Norman – giving a helping hand.

Mr Mallard said, “I was really impressed with the organisation and number of volunteers. It was great to see so many people happy to have an opportunity to recycle items that would otherwise be very hard to dispose of.”

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