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.