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5 April 2018
Nearly 19 tonnes of waste – the weight of eight white rhinoceros – is no longer destined for landfill thanks to a recent e-waste collection day in Te Awamutu.
Instead, more than 2,450 appliances destined for the dump are being stripped down into individual parts and processed into products ranging from bathroom tiles to plastic piping. Some components, like copper and gold from circuit boards, are recovered for re-use. The work is undertaken by the South Waikato Achievement Trust which provides employment for disadvantaged people.
The e-waste collection in early March was organised by the Te Awamutu Community Board and Waipa District Council. Figures just back show that 18.8 tonnes of e-waste was collected in four hours, ranging from small computer controls to commercial photocopiers. Anything with a battery or a plug could be handed in for a $5 or $10 fee with cost subsidised by the Te Awamutu Community Board.
Community board member Ange Holt was stunned by the amount of e-waste that was “dragged out of barns and from the back of the garage” for handing in.
“It’s pretty obvious some of it had been around for a long time and people were stumped as to how they could dispose of it responsibly,” she said.
“We got a huge amount of positive feedback from those involved and we really want to thank people for getting behind the event.”
Items handed in included 961 small appliances (toasters, jugs etc), 159 printers, 546 assorted televisions, five large photocopiers and 81 microwaves. There were also more than 60 mobile phones, 57 laptops and even an exercycle.
Waipa District Council’s waste minimisation officer Sally Fraser said the event cost around $22,000 to run and money collected came to nearly $8,000. Te Awamutu Community Board contributed $7,000 with remaining costs picked up by a government waste levy fund administered by the Council.
She said there were already calls to run a similar e-waste event in Cambridge. Information will be presented to the Cambridge Community Board within the month and the Board will decide whether or not it wishes to support it.
There were no immediate plans to run another e-waste collection day in Te Awamutu “within the near future”, she said.
Photo from left to right: Te Awamutu Community Board chair Gary Derbyshire; Cr Marcus Gower; Te Awamutu Community Board member Cr Susan O’Regan; Waipa District Council Waste Minimisation Officer Sally Fraser; and Te Awamutu Community Board member Ange Holt.