Did you know that Australians are among the highest users of technology in the world, and e-waste is one of our fastest growing types of waste?
From when TVs and computers were introduced in Australia up until 2008, 17 million TVs and 37 million computers have been sent to landfills across the country. In 2007-08 alone, 15.7 million computers were thrown out and only 1.5 million of these were recycled.
Electrical goods contain valuable resources that can be recycled and re-used. They also contain hazardous substances that are dangerous to humans and the environment when they’re disposed of inappropriately, which is why learning to dispose of e-Waste properly is more important than ever.
What is e-Waste?
e-Waste is comprised of a little more than just old televisions and out-dated computers. It’s comprised of any form of electrical or electronic equipment that depends on electrical currents and electromagnetic fields to function.
This can include:
- Entertainment electronics, including TVs, DVD players, and CD players.
- Information and communications technology, including computers, telephones, and mobile phones.
- Household appliances, such as fridges, washing machines, and microwaves.
- Lighting, like desk lamps an old pendant lights.
- Smaller-scale power tools, such as power drills.
- Sport and leisure devices, including fitness machines and remote control toys.
Why is e-Waste Such a Big Problem?
As the consumption of raw materials increases exponentially, taking up landfill space, with potentially hazardous equipment being dumped in areas where it can leach into soil and water supplies, finding environmentally-friendly disposal methods is a big priority.
For instance, TVs and computers contain valuable, non-renewable resources, including gold, steel, copper, zinc, aluminium, and brass. From one tonne of computer scrap we can recover more gold than we can from 17 tonnes of gold ore.
These household items, however, also contain hazardous substances, which is another reason we should be looking at recycling them rather than carelessly throwing them out. Referring back to our computers and TVs, these items are filled with lead, cadmium and mercury, which should be handled carefully, rather than carelessly.
When a computer or TV is recycled properly, we can break them down into components, such as glass, plastic, and metal, with 95-98 per cent of these components being suitable for recycling.
What Should You Do With Your e-Waste?
All of your e-Waste should be properly handled by a waste management company, or carefully disposed of by yourself. e-Waste should never be thrown in with your household waste.
When electrical goods are recycled, a lot can be achieved with seemingly useless parts.
For instance, since the decision was made to switch off analogue television, there has been a huge spike in the number of CRT televisions finding their way into landfill. This particular type of TV should be recycled, as it needs to be crushed in a contained environment, separated and cleaned.
From these TVs, the glass can be used to manufacture new TVs and computers, the circuit boards can be shredded and separated into plastics and metals that can be used to create jewellery and computer chips, and plastic casings can be turned into pellets used for resins for new products or fuel.
If your household electronics are still in working order, and you’re simply upgrading to a new model, consider giving the items to charity or selling them on sites like Gumtree. In doing so, you’ll be extending the items lifespan and ensuring our landfills aren’t overloaded with perfectly functional electronics.
To learn more about proper waste management methods, or for assistance disposing of your household or commercial waste, contact the team at Bulk Waste Collection today!