July 1st, 2019 marked the date set by the Victorian Government placing a state wide ban on e-waste (electronic waste) from going into landfill. This means no more such waste will be accepted in tips or kerbside rubbish bins and must be taken to a designated collection site.
What is e-waste?
E-waste refers to any unwanted product with a plug, cord or battery, like whitegoods, phones, TVs, computers, laptops, printers, cameras, radios and battery operated toys. As technology advances, so does our hunger to upgrade to the latest and greatest; unfortunately this has led to creating an abundance of e-waste. It’s estimated that television and computer waste alone will reach over 85,000 tonnes by 2024.
What can be done to reduce e-waste?
Electronic goods all contain valuable resources – like copper, silver and gold – and recycled properly, these non-renewable materials can be repurposed for something new. Just to put this in perspective, Australian’s discard more than one million mobile phones each year and one million mobile phones contain an estimated 15.5 tonnes of copper, 345 kilograms of silver and 29 kilograms of gold. By reusing what’s already been mined, we’re reducing greenhouse emissions and the costs associated with processing and transporting these raw materials.
A staggering 44 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2016. We can do more for sustainability by disposing of those items in an environmentally-friendly way and with just 20% of the world’s e-waste being recycled in 2016, there’s the proof.
What are the effects of e-waste in landfill?
Due to increased technology, the reduction in product lifespan and consumer demand for the latest trend, e-waste is growing three times faster than general waste in Australia; not to mention the hazardous materials harboured in e-waste, which can become harmful to the environment and our health. Keeping these materials out of the ground is important.
Mercury found in batteries is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the brain, liver and kidneys and cause development disorders in children. Once buried the dangerous chemicals can seep out of landfill, into the soil and bioconcentrate, working its way up the food chain.
E-waste contains hazardous materials, which can be harmful to both the environment and our health.
Where do we take e-waste?
Instead of dumping e-waste at a tip or in a kerbside bin Victorian’s are now required to take their unwanted items to one of the 1000 collection points around the state.
There are over 120 designated council drop-off areas, with many hosting regular e-waste collection events and offering free disposal days, with no need to book.
Other collection drop-off sites include: Officeworks, Mobile Muster (mobile phones), Aldi (batteries), Cartridges 4 Planet Ark (printer cartridges), TechCollect (TVs and computer accessories).
Just remember, if it has a plug, cord or battery, then it’s e-waste.