Australian workplaces and homes are increasingly becoming cluttered with disused electronic devices, with close to half of people admitting to hoarding older devices.
Research by TechCollect – a free national e-waste recycling service that is funded by large technology manufacturers including Canon, Dell, HP, Brother and Epson – found that 43 per cent of Australians are holding on to old devices on the off chance they are needed again one day, while almost a quarter (22 per cent) admit to actively hoarding old devices.
The biggest reason for not recycling e-waste, TechCollect suggests, is that 52 per cent of people admit to having concerns about data security, and what would happen with data stored on their devices once they are disposed of.
As well as the obvious space issue, hoarding old devices is becoming an increasingly big environmental problem. Some 69 per cent of people surveyed say they are aware e-waste ending up in landfill is harmful to the environment, yet a quarter still admit to throwing e-waste into the garbage bin.
“The challenge is encouraging consumers to let go of old devices they are no longer using or which are actually broken beyond repair. Although devices can hold sentimental value, the non-renewable resources in them can be used in manufacturing when recycled correctly,” said Carmel Dollisson, CEO of TechCollect.
“The average Australian household has approximately 17 electronic devices in the home and yet only 23 per cent of us are always recycling them. With the consumption of electronic devices getting higher all the time, it’s crucial consumers look at e-waste recycling as the natural next step in the product lifecycle, especially when it no longer serves its purpose to them.”
It comes as federal small business minister Michael McCormack launched Stay Smart Online Week, from 9 to 13 October, in a bid to combat the number of SMEs falling victim to cyber crime.
“Cyber crime is estimated to cost the Australian economy more than $1 billion a year, and around 43 per cent of cyber crimes are targeted at small businesses,” he said.
“In a rapidly changing online world small businesses need to be equipped to manage the challenges that cyber criminals and syndicates pose.
“I encourage all small businesses to learn more about the risks of being online and how to protect their business.”