Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eagle-eyed geeks needed for eDay, New Zealand

Written by Ken Lewis
Monday, 18 August 2008

Computer geeks around New Zealand are being asked to help out by casting an experienced eye over hundreds of tonnes of computer gear expected to be dumped during the 2008 eDay.

Scheduled for the weekend of October 4 and 5, eDay aims to divert electronic waste, or e-waste, from landfills in up to 30 regions around the country.

Organised by the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ), the event last year collected 415 tonnes of unwanted consumer computers, CRT screens, printers and peripherals from 12 regions around New Zealand. With 30 regions confirmed in the 2008 collection, CANZ hopes to divert at least 1000 tonnes from dumps for recycling.

According to Laurence Zwimpfer, chairman of CANZ, the event requires around 1500 volunteers to help co-ordinate the eDay drop-off sites, but the trust is especially keen to recruit volunteers who might recognise gems among the thousands of computing cast offs. These will then be set aside and auctioned on Trade Me to help raise money and defray the costs of the day.

<-----Laurence Zwimpfer sorts e-waste during eDay 2007

Zwimpfer says CANZ came up with the idea after celebrity helper Sam Morgan spied a rare Apple Mac machine being discarded during the 2007 eDay. He immediately recognised its worth to Apple aficionados and pulled it from the soon-to-be-recycled pile of unwanted computers.

The annual eDay is the only community-driven e-waste recycling opportunity New Zealand consumers have to dispose of unwanted computers for free.

"While the Product Stewardship Bill is making good progress in Parliament, it is still likely to be two to three years before industry-supported schemes for recycling e-waste are fully operational. eDay is helping to plug the gap and buy New Zealand a little more time without generating new problems in our landfills," says Zwimpfer.

Funding eDay is a major challenge for the not-for-profit trust and Zwimpfer says the programme relies on support from a wide range of partners, including computer manufacturers and related IT industries, computer retailers, community trusts, local authorities and central government.

CANZ has already received funding support for eDay 2008 from Pub Charity, the Community Lottery Board, and the Ministry for the Environment's Sustainable Management Fund.

Industry support has also been forthcoming from Dell, who introduced the idea of community-driven free computer recycling days to New Zealand in 2006, The Laptop Company, Toshiba and Trade Me. National transport operator KiwiRail will also freight containers of e-waste from local collection centres to regional consolidation points.

Go to for details of drop-off sites.

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