How to recycle e-waste in Victoria

Abandoned computer monitors form a mountain of e-waste


Posted November 14, 2023

Don't toss your electronic waste in the bin. Here's how to properly dispose of old computers, mobile phones, batteries, and household appliances. 

Australians love their tech. We are a nation of early adopters, eagerly pouncing on the latest gizmos and gadgets to get us ahead.

But with all the new tech coming into our homes every year inevitably makes the old stuff redundant, the waste that is generated is staggering. The amount of electronic waste (or ‘e-waste’) produced globally is on a steady increase, with discarded devices increasing at a rate of 40 million around the world each year, according to Clean Up Australia. 

So, do you know what to do with your e-waste? 


Household appliances like kettles, hairdryers, irons and computer accessories all lying in a big pile

Anything with a plug, cord or battery is classified as e-waste. Image: Getty

What is e-waste?  

E-waste defined as any item with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted.  

That includes everything from mobile phones to home appliances such as televisions, fridges, clothes dryers, hair dryers, and consumer goods such as cameras, computers, CD and DVD players.

In Victoria, it is illegal to dispose of e-waste in any of your kerbside bins, as it can leech toxins into the environment.

E-waste is responsible for 70 per cent of toxic chemicals found in landfills - a standard cathode ray tube from a television, for example, contains about two kgs of lead. E-waste can also contain precious metals that can be repurposed, such as gold, silver and copper.

Instead of tossing that old electronic, first consider the three Rs of waste disposal: reduce, re-use and recycle.


New electronics are released all the time, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy them.

If your current phone, computer, television or other electronic still works fine and does everything you need it to do, consider whether you need to upgrade to the latest model.

If you do require a new device, some retail stores allow you to trade in your old product and get in-store credit (which you can then use to get a discount on your new item).  

Also consider buying second-hand, there is plenty of tech out there that could suit your needs at a fraction of the cost of new.

And lastly, few people could not lay claim to a stash of mystery cables. Try getting some money back on them at a scrap metal business.


You might be surprised who wants your old phone, printer, computer or camera. Many charities or tip shops welcome working electronics and whitegoods, though it’s best to call ahead to confirm with the specific store you’re donating to.  

There are also plenty of online sites to help you give away your items (or even resell them).


There are plenty of options to recycle your e-waste. Retail outlets often have e-waste drop-off points, while some local councils will even pick up your e-waste as part of hard rubbish collection services.  

Most e-cycling organisations and councils can give you plenty of information as to how recycling e-waste benefits the planet and can link to thousands of drop-off points in Australia, but are short on detail with the process of how your e-waste is recycled.  

If you’re concerned about what happens to your e-waste after collection, particularly around personal information and data, contact the organisation directly to ask where and how your product will be recycled.


A person wearing work gloves holding a broken smartphone. A pile of old phones lies on the bench in the background

Millions of old phones are lying unused in Australian households. Image: Getty.

Common recyclable household e-waste


Many electronic items like toys, remotes and even smoke alarms still require batteries, but you shouldn’t toss this form of e-waste in your household rubbish bin when they die.  

Batteries are potentially explosive when incorrectly handled, and should they end up in landfill, they can leak lead, mercury, and cadmium into the environment.  

The good news is that it’s now possible to recycle 95 per cent of the materials in batteries, which can then be used to create new batteries.

So next time your TV remote needs a battery-change, don’t throw the duds in the bin. Collect old batteries and the next free day you have, take them to a drop-off point.


Millions of disused mobiles and smartphones are gathering dust in cupboards and drawers across Australia.  

If you can’t sell, trade-in or donate your phone, it’s possible to recycle devices through Australia’s Federally-accredited phone recycling program that recovers 95 per cent of materials.  

This program also recycles mobile accessories, such as chargers. If you can’t make it to one of the drop-off points (which can be found at many retailers where you might buy a phone), you can also post your phone to be recycled, free of charge.  


Your old computer might be more useful than you think. Some Australian not-for-profits refurbish and resell (at a discount) old laptops and computers to concession card holders.  

Otherwise, you can recycle your computer through the Federal Government’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, which has drop-off locations throughout Victoria.  

Just be sure to wipe all your data from your device before taking it to be recycled.


Whitegoods are a great example of e-waste that can be readily donated, repaired or resold. When buying large whitegoods, such as a washing machine, clothes dryer or fridge, most retailers will even take your old product away free of charge.

But if you’ve got an appliance that’s reached the true end of its life, it must be recycled – this is especially important for fridges and freezers which need to be ‘degassed’ (have their refrigerant properly removed) to prevent harm to the environment.  

Some councils will pick up whitegoods as part of their hard rubbish collection services. If your council doesn’t recycle whitegoods, commercial recyclers can be hired to come collect your items for a small fee.   


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