The Victorian Government has banned electronic waste (or e-waste) in landfills from July 2019.
E-waste basically includes everything with a plug or battery, from TVs, computers and mobile phones to batteries, power tools and kitchen appliances. The move to ban these items from landfill is one Planet Ark wholeheartedly supports, with e-waste currently growing at a rate three times faster than any other waste stream in Australia.
Before recycling, and if the item is in working order or repairable, think about passing the item on to family, friends, a charity or give or sell online.
How to recycle your e-waste?
Take advantage of product stewardship recycling schemes for the following materials:
Find your nearest options for these materials:
- Electrical appliances including DVD players, alarm clocks, cameras, toasters and radios
- Light globes
- Household batteries
- Car batteries
More and more recycling facilities are being upgraded to accept e-waste so if there are no options nearby, keep these items in a safe, dry place until an option becomes available. Contact your local council for further advice.
What happens to e-waste?
E-waste collected for recycling is almost always manually disassembled and assorted into its various components. These individual materials such as cabling, circuit boards, glass, metals and plastics are then processed for use as raw materials in new products.
- Computers and accessories can often be refurbished and made available to lower-income communities. If this is not an option, individual materials such as cabling, glass, circuit boards and plastics are recovered and processed into raw materials.
- Mobile phones are disassembled into component parts, which are then transported to local and overseas recyclers for processing. The plastic can be made into shipping pallets and lithium extracted from the phones can be made into new batteries.
- Whitegoods such as fridges and washing machines have hazardous materials removed before being crushed and shredded for recycling.
- Electrical appliances including DVD players, alarm clocks, cameras, toasters and radios could be repaired at reuse centres.
- Batteries and other electrical equipment components are complex and can be a complicated process due to the chemistry involved.
Many people are concerned about their device date being accessed when considering recycling their devices. All data should be wiped from a device before handing it over for recycling. MobileMuster has some great data management tips for removing data from mobile phones. TechCollect also has useful information on deleting data from computers and other devices.
More information about the Victorian e-waste ban can be found on the Sustainability Victoria website.