Our love of technology and insatiable appetite for new devices has created one of the biggest environmental issues of our time – e-waste.

E-waste is New Zealand’s fastest growing waste stream. Every year, the average Kiwi generates a massive 20 kg of e-waste yet only 2% of it is recycled.

World Environment Day (5th June 2023) is a great opportunity to think about e-waste and how to prevent it from going to landfill.

There are many simple things we can do to manage our e-waste footprint and reduce the volume of e-waste created in our country.

Reduce, Reduce, Reduce

Take these simple steps to reduce the amount of e-waste in your household:

  • Postpone upgrading your cell phone, laptop, etc, for as long as possible. Ask yourself if you really need that new device or if the current one can last for a bit longer.
  • Buy quality items that last longer. The cheapest deal might be easier on the pocket but may not be the best for you or the planet. Look out for high-quality products and for companies that have product stewardship schemes, i.e., have a process in place for products at the end of their lives.
  • Avoid devices with any type of built-in obsolescence.
  • Borrow an electrical appliance for one-off jobs rather than buying one.
  • Think about buying second-hand and refurbished items.

Reuse, Repurpose, and Repair

Look for ways to give electronic devices a new lease of life to keep them out of landfill.

  • Repair or rejuvenate devices, if possible, rather than buying a new one. Most devices can usually be repaired or enhanced with some expert knowledge. Upgrading software, replacing damaged screens and old covers are also ways to improve older devices.
  • If the item is still in good working order, think about either selling it or giving it to someone else. But don’t forget to wipe the data from your devices and ideally do a factory reset to protect your privacy.

Recycling is a Last Resort 

If there really is no way to reuse or repair the item, then recycle it properly with a responsible recycling organisation.

This ensures that all the useful components and materials in your device will be recovered. These materials can then be reused to produce new products rather than going to landfill.

How Urban Miners Can help

  1. Urban Miners are an environmentally focused and responsible e-waste recycling service, and will process your e-waste properly so that all useful materials are salvaged for reuse.
  2. Urban Miners can also help to repurpose devices that are still functional. Our tech specialists refurbish and upgrade phones, laptops and computers for resale at low prices at our monthly stall at the Cambridge Lions Market. We also gift upgraded devices to Cambridge Community House for those in need, and send functioning household appliances to the Cambridge Lions shed.

Please help spread the word! The most challenging task we face is getting people to pull unused or redundant devices out of their drawers and garages and drop them off for recycling.