Who are Urban Miners?

Urban Miners is a not-for-profit organisation that runs an e-waste reuse, repair, and recycling service for the Waipā District in New Zealand.

Urban Miners is run entirely by volunteers from Rotary Cambridge, Rotary Te Awamutu, and the local Waipā community. We also work in partnership with other community groups including the Lions Club of Cambridge.

Our Story

Urban Miners was started by Mark Hanlon and David Blewden from Rotary Cambridge after they became concerned about the lack of e-waste recycling facilities in Waipā.

After visiting several recycling operations around New Zealand, they started Urban Miners in 2020 as a not-for-profit organisation to provide a much needed e-waste recycling service for the Waipā community.

The main goal is to provide an environmentally focused e-waste service that diverts as much material as possible from landfill through recycling, reuse, or repair.

Initially, Urban Miners ran some trial e-waste collections at local rural schools. This was followed by their first public e-waste collection in Cambridge in December 2020. Urban Miners now hold e-waste collections in Cambridge and Te Awamutu every month.

Urban Miners reached another milestone in 2020 after securing a lease from the Waipā District Council for a building to use as an e-waste processing facility. It provides a base for our volunteers to sort and process e-waste after each collection event so that useful materials can be recovered. Household batteries are also sorted and graded. All recovered materials are then packed for shipment to partner companies for full recycling.

Where possible, Urban Miners salvage and refurbish reusable cell phones, computers, and laptops, which are then sold at low prices to the public at the Cambridge Lions Market. Other reusable household appliances are passed on to the local Lions Shed for resale.

Urban Miners is supported by the Waipā District Council, Waipā Waste Minimisation Fund, the Cambridge Community Board, and Te Awamutu Community Board.

Goals and Objectives

The purpose of Urban Miners is to provide an environmentally focused, affordable e-waste service for the Waipā community. We aim to divert meaningful quantities of e-waste from landfill through recycling, recovery, reuse, and repair.

On an annual basis, Urban Miners aim to:

  • Divert 90% or more of all e-waste received from landfill
  • Divert at least 30 tonnes of e-waste from landfill
  • Divert at least 500 kg of domestic batteries from landfill
  • Divert at least 800 kg of wiring from landfill


The success of Urban Miners depends on a large team of volunteers from the local Waipa community, Rotary Cambridge and Rotary Te Awamutu, who run the collection events, process and sort e-waste, refurbish reusable items, and run our stall at the Cambridge Lions Market.

Management Committee

Mark Hanlon

Mark has over 50 years’ experience in manufacturing, including 25 years running his own engineering consulting business specialising primarily in project management. He has also held several business governance roles.

David Blewden

David was owner and Director of Lilies by Blewden Ltd. He is past Director of United Flower Auctions Ltd, and past Chairman of the New Zealand Flower Growers Association.

Management Team

Urban Miners has a small management team who are responsible for strategic direction, financial management, and promotion and marketing.

Our Governance

Urban Miners is overseen by a management team who meet monthly. They are mainly, but not exclusively, Rotarians. Aside from oversight of day-to-day operations, they are also responsible for financial management, promotion and marketing, and strategic direction. This team works in conjunction with the Rotary Cambridge Board who have overall governance responsibility for Urban Miners.

About Cambridge Rotary

Rotary Cambridge was founded in 1946. It is one of the larger clubs in the North Island and currently has around 55 members.

Each year members embark on new projects, some of which are fundraisers for local and international causes, while others are solely for the benefit of the community.

Rotarians are simply members of the community who want to give something back. Through community service and other means, Rotarians help promote peace and understanding throughout the world. Rotary has 1.2 million members worldwide.



About Te Awamutu Rotary

Te Awamutu Rotary Club is well known for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere and its varied programme of club meetings and speakers throughout the year. It also holds lively social functions, such as potluck dinners, club visits, movie nights, and restaurant evenings. It has a comprehensive fund-raising programme.

The club supports the Te Awamutu community and local districts, many Rotary International projects, and local community and youth programmes and events throughout the year.

Club members have been instrumental in forming and building the Pirongia Forest Park Lodge, sponsorship of the Te Awamutu Community Health shuttle, sponsorship of the Te Awamutu Schools Attendance Officer vehicle, and environmental activities at Lake Rotopiko.

We are proud to be involved with the Urban Miners project and support the monthly collections in Te Awamutu that allows Urban Miners to access Te Awamutu and its environs. The Sunday morning collections are always popular, often with more than 50 vehicles coming through the Urban Miners facility set-up adjacent to the Te Awamutu Sports Club (Albert Park).



Awards and Accolades

Urban Miners are proud recipients of the following awards:

  • Waipā Networks Business Awards Waste Minimisation Environmental Award 2021
  • Keep New Zealand Beautiful Community Award 2022
  • Rotary District 9930 Environment Award 2022
  • Waipā Networks Business Awards Waste Minimisation Environmental Award 2023
  • Finalist New Zealand Sustainable Business Awards Outstanding Collaboration Award 2024


Urban Miners would like to thank our principal sponsors Waipā District Council Waste Minimisation Fund, Cambridge Community Board, Te Awamutu Community Board, and Waipā District Council for their support. We are also grateful for the support of our other sponsors as shown below.