Libraries lead drive to lower e-waste

Reduce, reuse, recycle . . . Library staff member Kellie Post holds up a pile of unwanted and broken mobile phones from their collection box at the Balclutha Library last week. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

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Libraries are taking the initiative on reducing e-waste in the Clutha district.

Clutha District Libraries teamed up with Clutha District Council Waste Minimisation last September to assist in reducing electronic waste by collecting and setting up drop off points for broken or old cellphones and chargers.

Balclutha-based Clutha District Council library/ service centres manager Debbie Duncan said the project stemmed from the old Spark store closing down in Balclutha.

‘‘We’ve always had people coming in for general digital assistance but noticed an increase in people coming in with old broken mobile phones unsure of what to do with them,’’ Ms Duncan said.

‘‘It’s become an extension of another public resource through our libraries, as they are the beating heart of our community and district.’’

Ms Duncan said phones could be dropped off at any of the five Clutha District Libraries and their Balclutha location would be the official send off point to RE:Mobile, a New Zealand mobile phone recycling scheme.

‘‘We can take phones and phone chargers but we cannot take things like tablets and phone cases.’’

For every phone recycled with RE:Mobile, money is donated to Sustainable Coastlines, a charity assisting in protecting coastlines and waterways throughout New Zealand.

Previously, RE:Mobile has raised $2.5 million for New Zealand charities.

‘‘We’re thrilled to be part of something which assists us both locally and further,’’ Ms Duncan said.

‘‘We’re always looking to focus on furthering the ways we can help out in the community, so we’re pleased this can be of assistance to reducing waste in the district.’’