The Growing Problem of E-Waste

What is E-Waste?

E-waste (or electronic waste) is discarded electrical or electronic technologies. This includes computers, laptops, televisions, mobile phones, digital cameras, printers, USBs, and even includes fridge and washing machines.

E-waste is a large issue. In Australia, millions of electronic devices including televisions, computes and mobile phones are being discarded each year. E-waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams, at three times the rate of any other waste stream.

According to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, the world generated 53 million tonnes of e-waste in 2019, an increase of 21% in five years. This has been fuelled by high consumption rates, shorter lifecycles and limited repair options. Treating e-waste correctly will help minimise pollution, protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

Key Facts
  • 88% of the millions of computers and TV’s purchased in Australia each year ends up in landfill.

  • 140,000+ tonnes of electronic waste is generated by Australians each year.

  • E-waste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals, such as lead, cadmium and mercury, found in Landfill.

  • E-waste is growing at a rate three times faster than any other waste stream

  • 98% of components within a computer or television can be fully recycled.

What You Can Do:
  1. Repair your electronic devices. You could contact the manufacturer or the retail store where you purchased the device, who can provide you with further information on how you could repair your electronic devices.

  2. Consider buying a refurbished device instead of a brand new one, which will not only save money, but also reduce landfill.

  3. If the device is still in good condition, consider donating it and extending its life-cycle.

  4. A number of companies offer trade-in-programs, where you trade-in your old device for credit toward a new one. This ensures that your device is getting recycled properly.

  5. Recycle electronics in designated e-waste recycling bins (refer to your local council regarding this).

Consider applying these tips next time your electronic devices reach the end of their life-cycle.

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