What to do with your e-waste
How to recycle e-waste in Victoria.
Australians love their tech. We are a nation of early adopters, eagerly pouncing on the latest releases, giving everything a red hot go, even those we’d rather not talk about. Laser discs, I’m looking at you.
But the waste generated from all this gleeful consumerism is staggering. It’s estimated we produce about 600,000 tonnes of e-waste each year.
We need to work harder at solutions for all this rubbish and we need to get cracking because the Victorian government has banned e-waste from landfill from 1 July, and China’s ban on buying any more waste has laid bare the shameful secret that there is very little e-waste recycling done in Australia. The state government is spending $15 million to upgrade its e-waste network, but there is plenty householders can do.
Firstly, what is e-waste? It’s defined as any item with a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted. So it covers televisions, fridges, hair dryers, cameras, computers, computer equipment, phones, fax and copy machines, CD and DVD players, game consoles, your nan’s VCR, fitness trackers, batteries and many more items.
Why should we care where it ends up? Well there are plenty of nasties in e-waste – a standard cathode ray tube used in many televisions contains about two kilograms of lead – but there is also plenty that could be recycled such as gold, silver and copper.
Before making any decisions, consider the three Rs of waste disposal. Reduce, re-use and recycle.