Urban miners celebrate

Urban Miners co-founder David Blewden talking to guests on the intricacies of e-waste. 

Rotarians, civic and business leaders gathered in Cambridge last week for a demonstration of the workings of Waipā Rotary’s enterprise, The Urban Miners, and to celebrate its recent big win.

Run by Cambridge Rotary Club, Urban Miners recycles or diverts for reuse, a range of e-waste items collected monthly by volunteers in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.  The not-for-profit operation was founded 18 months ago by Waipā Rotarians David Blewden and Mark Hanlon to reduce the amount of e-waste going into landfills

Just days before the gathering, Urban Miners learned they had won the best community group award in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards.  Delighted Cambridge Rotary members took the opportunity to add a celebratory element to Thursday’s demonstration, which counted Waipā District Mayor Jim Mylchreest, councillors and community board members among guests.

Mark Hanlon talks to guests about this year’s Urban Miners’ target.

Urban Miners receives funding from Waipā District Council’s Waste Minimisation Funds, and the Cambridge Community Board.

Mark Hanlon said despite a Covid-induced slow-down during 2021, their first full year of operation, Urban Miners had saved 15 tonnes of e-waste from going into the landfill, the equivalent of 10 medium-sized cars.

“This year, we have already done three collections and Covid willing, we hope to have an even better year. Our target is 30 tonnes.

Mayor Jim Mylchreest  said ongoing council support “goes without question” as the enterprise aids one of council’s key priorities – the protection of the environment.

“We must work together as communities are built from the bottom up, not the top down. This project has support right through the district, and as a council we will do what we can to assist,” he said.

Councillor Philip Coles spoke on behalf of Destination Cambridge, the organisation that put Urban Miners through for the award.  He said the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards offered organisations ‘enormous national profile’ and said Urban Miners’ win was a huge accolade.

Waipā District Mayor Jim Mylchreest talking to guests, flanked by Urban Miners founder David Blewden and Mark Hanlon, and Cambridge Rotary Club president Ian Grant. 

Cambridge Rotary President Ian Grant said the meeting was the first of several planned over the coming months aimed at showcasing local Rotary activities.

Urban Miners’ co-founder David Blewden said there were currently around 50 volunteers on the books, of which around 20 percent were regulars, and they were on the lookout for more.

Anyone interested can call David on 0274 712 156.

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