Urban Miners celebrated their second year of collecting e-waste in Waipā this week.

More than 20 volunteers came long to join the celebration and mark another year of progress by the group.

It is one of many milestones achieved since they started first collecting e-waste in December 2020.

“It’s fair to say that when we first presented the idea to Cambridge Rotary, there was a fair amount of scepticism as to whether we would actually pull this off or not!” observed spokesperson David Blewden.

“Some of that was down to sheer force of nature and determination from Mark [Hanlon] and I …. but the other reason of course is the community – you guys – have really embraced the project as a worthwhile thing to be involved in. We really thank you for that!”

Since Urban Miners ran their first community e-waste collection in 2020, they have expanded to a large team of more than 100 volunteers, they run monthly e-waste collections in Te Awamutu and Cambridge, they have leased a building for processing e-waste, and have established a monthly market stall to sell reusable items.

Their success is starting to have tangible benefits for the Waipā community, with more than more than 70 pallets of e-waste and 1-2 skips of metal per month successfully diverted from landfill.

On top of that, multiple loads of batteries and wiring have also been sent for full recycling. Reusable items are salvaged and given to the Lions Shed for resale, and cell phones and computers are refurbished for sale directly to the public at low prices.

Community support for the project combined with the ability to process e-waste has meant that Urban Miners have been able to significantly reduce their recycling fees in 2022.

Mark Hanlon commented “Many of our items have been reduced by 50 or 60%. We have about a dozen items now that only cost $2, and another 12 to 15 that only cost $5…. and this is all in the interests of trying to get more people to actually recycle their e-waste.”