Recycling your E-waste: How to do it right

With E-waste – discarded electrical or electronic devices – now being produced at up to three times that of normal household waste production in Australia, E-waste disposal gurus TechCollect have released 10 tips to help you better recycle your E-waste.

With E-waste – discarded electrical or electronic devices – now being produced at up to three times that of normal household waste production in Australia, E-waste disposal gurus TechCollect have released 10 tips to help you better recycle your E-waste.

While likely not something most consumers and business owners think about, safe E-waste recycling is an important issue because discarded electrical or electronic devices can contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated fire retardants. These materials are hazardous, difficult to dispose of and potentially damaging to the environment.

Carmel Dollisson, CEO of TechCollect, said that people need to think carefully about what they do with their old computers, printers and TVs as they are replaced or upgraded.

“Australians love their technology – we have an insatiable appetite for innovation, which is great,” she said. “But we have to make sure it doesn’t come at a cost to our environment.”

Under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS), which is funded by over 60 of Australia’s leading technology importers and manufacturers, TechCollect offers a free national e-waste recycling service for small businesses and households. To get you started, here are 10 hot tips to get you recycling your e-waste now. 
 

1. One in-two out: While a lot of e-waste ends up in landfill, a lot more gets stashed in cupboards, garages, spare rooms and shelves – meaning we have to keep mining our soil rather than recycling all the precious materials accessible above-the-ground in old technology. For every new piece of technology you welcome into your business, commit to recycling two unwanted pieces; this is the “one-in, two out” rule.
 

2. Stay data safe: Always wipe important personal or confidential files from your computer before taking it to any e-waste recycling service.

3. Packaging pollutes: Australians sent about 1.6 million tonnes of packaging to landfill in 2012, or 36 per cent of the approximately 4.4 million tonnes we generated. So, don’t forget to thoughtfully dispose of the cardboard box and any plastic packaging that came with your new purchase, or that you’ve kept from your old one. 
 

4. Mark your calendar: Circle a month, even twice a year, in your calendar that you’ll round up and dispose of all your e-waste every year, and make it a tradition. February is a great time, after everyone’s back from summer holidays and you’re likely to have new technology after the Christmas/New Year sales. 

5. Contact your local council to see if they will accept your e-waste.

6. Reincarnated relics: Over 90 per cent of the raw materials (including precious metals, glass and plastic) found in a computer can be recycled or re-used if handled by a top-notch recycling service. So, your old faithful laptop could be reincarnated as jewellery, outdoor furniture, or in plastic fence posts in its next life if you recycle it.

7. Influence e-waste recycling in your workplace. Pool resources and do one trip to your nearest collection site with everyone's home and office e-waste together.

8. Tied up in knots: Those random power cables from your old TV, computer, printer or accessory can also be recycled. Even if they’re all knotted up in a drawer and you don’t know which cable belongs to which device, bring it with you to your nearest collection site, and thanks to recycling something beautiful could be made out of it.

9. Pay it forward: If your computer or TV is still in good working condition, give it to a family member or friend.

10. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to get involved and take responsibility for their E-waste. Lead by example and help out those that may need it, collect your grandparents’ or parents’ e-waste and make sure it is recycled responsibly.  
 

For more information or to find your nearest e-waste collection site, visit www.techcollect.com.au or call 1300 229 837.

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