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Slingshot launches e-waste initiative to Keep New Zealand Beautiful

Slingshot has launched a new trade-in initiative to reduce waste in New Zealand and support healthy environmental practices.

New customers to Slingshot are now able to choose a pre-loved modem and reduce e-waste as a result.

Slingshot CEO Taryn Hamilton explains that Slingshot retains ownership of modems it sends to customers, and at the end of a contract it gets the modems back and refurbishes them to look brand new.

However, around 30% of the items returned from customers are considered unusable due to external damage, including discolouring or marks.

A good proportion are entirely functional but aren’t sufficient to send to a new customer. Unless that customer specifically agrees to it, Hamilton says.

She says Singshot has dubbed the recycled modems ‘ugly’, but in reality the modems are in perfect working order but have a few scratches and bumps from a previous life.

Usual business practice is to send equipment in this condition to e-waste processing. While a proportion of the electronics is recycled, there is an inevitable quantity which goes into landfill.

Locally and globally, so-called e-waste is recognised as a significant challenge. One estimate puts total e-waste at 48 million tons a year, while a recent Radio New Zealand article estimates that 20 kilograms of e-waste is created for every New Zealander, every year.

That waste comprises old computers, dead mobile phones, junked televisions and, inevitably, quite a few ugly but functional modems.

Slingshot has teamed up with environmental charity Keep New Zealand Beautiful to promote the campaign and help raise funds for the not for profit.

The company will donate $15 to Keep New Zealand Beautiful every time someone selects an Ugly Modem.

Hamilton says, “Instead of consigning perfectly functional equipment to e-waste or landfill, we're asking customers to take one on, and we'll give money to a good cause.”

For more than 50 years, Keep New Zealand Beautiful has mobilised more than 100,000 volunteers every year, cleaning up beaches, picking up litter, removing graffiti, planting trees and more.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson applauds Slingshots initiative. She says, “It is estimated that more than 80,000 tonnes of electrical waste is disposed of in landfill each year. We can't do without our technology equipment, but where possible we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

"It's great to see a company recognise its role in reducing environmental impact through effective recycling so I encourage anyone who wants to do their bit to take on an Ugly Modem. Because in this case, ugly really is beautiful.”