Digital transformation and technology has made life better and works more productive and efficient. Our standard of living is improving, and with that, as a result, a vast increase in electronic goods is being dumped for waste. Electronic waste or “E-waste” is one of the major concerns for the modern digital world. E-waste refers to electronic goods used and disposed of, such as computer equipment, hard-copy devices, televisions, and mobile devices.
The importance of E-waste Recycling
We all love new gadgets. Australians generate more than 140,000 tons of electronic waste each year and most of it ends up in a landfill. Disposing of unwanted electronic equipment means it takes up landfill space and the dumping of hazardous substances can increase the possibility of absorption in soil and water. Electronic devices also contain mercury, cadmium, lead and other carcinogens if not disposed of properly and increase the chances of cancer.
- Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year
- For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recoverOnly 12.5 % of e-waste is recycled
- Only 29% of global e-waste is handled via accepted best practice recycling channels
- Many major retailers will take e-waste for recycling, regardless of whether you purchased the products from the retailer/manufacturer or not. Dell based on 2020 Legacy of good plan is one such manufacturer which takes e-waste responsibly and accepts device from any manufacturer for recycling (United States Environmental Protection Agency Data Sources)
How to Recycle E-waste
Australia has a National Waste Policy for efficient waste management. It advises individuals, small businesses and corporates to consider E-waste recycling responsibly.
Below measures can be taken at an individual level:
- Use local councils or providers like TechCollect, 1800ewaste to handover electronic items
- Ask second-hand shops or charities if they can reuse working items
- Pass them on to friends and family
- Store them out of the weather until they can be disposed of appropriately
Corporations should consider electronic disposal as a strategic life cycle decision that adds value to the company. Regular awareness and motivation programs should be conducted to support goals and efficient waste management tactics be adopted and supported by premises.
The city of Sydney Council plans to host four e-waste events in 2017. Save the date 11 March and 03 June 9 am to 3 pm at the Sydney Park Nursery Depot in St Peters and do your part. Let’s recycle today for a better tomorrow!