A 2006 report on e-Waste in New Zealand, prepared by the Computer Access New Zealand (CANZ) Trust drew attention to the growing number of obsolete computers and computer-related equipment.1 The report estimated that there were around sixteen million computer and television devices in New Zealand with nearly a million being added each year. In the absence of any mechanism for the safe disposal of this equipment, there were growing signs that this electronic waste was ending up in landfills, creating a potential environmental hazard.
To draw attention to this issue and alert the general public to the potential dangers of landfilling electronic waste, CANZ, with the support of government and industry partners, has organised an annual eDay collection event since 2006. eDay provides an opportunity for households, community groups, schools and small businesses to drop-off old computer equipment at no charge at a centralised collection point so they can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
The first pilot eDay was held in Wellington in September 2006 with the support of Dell. In 2007, this was expanded to 12 centres and in 2008, has expanded again to include 31 centres (with a total of 33 collection sites).
The volume of e-waste collected has grown proportionately with 54 tonnes being collected in 2006, 415 tonnes in 2007 and 946 tonnes in 2008. Working monitors in good condition are processed for re-use; all other eDay equipment is sent to South Korea for disassembly and environmentally responsible recycling.
1 John MacGibbon and Laurence Zwimpfer, “e-Waste in New Zealand: Taking Responsibility for end-of-life computers and TVs”, July 2006.