E-waste – or electronic waste – refers to electronic products that are no longer wanted or working, including:
E-waste contains hazardous materials, which can harm the environment and human health. E-waste is growing three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia, due to increased technology trends, reduced product lifespan and consumer demand for new products. It's estimated only 4% of the 140,000 tonnes of e-waste generated annually in Australia is recycled. This means valuable materials contained in e-waste are lost when appliances, computers and other household electrical goods are sent to landfill.
Recycle your e-waste to:
Australian householders and small businesses can drop-off televisions, computers, computer products (such as keyboards, monitors and hard drives) and printers at designated points across Australia. This free service is offered by the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, currently being rolled out across Australia. Melbourne residents can also dispose of televisions and computer equipment through hard rubbish collections.
See the Recycling Near You website for your closest drop-off point.
If there are currently no drop-off points near you, or you have a different electronic item to recycle, dispose of your eWaste by:
The Victorian Government is seeking views from the community and industry on the proposed approach to managing electrical and electronic waste or 'e-waste' in Victoria. A package of proposed measures has been developed to reduce e-waste from landfill, increase resource recovery and support jobs and investment in the recycling sector. The community is encouraged to provide comment on the proposed policy package.
The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme aims to boost the recycling rate for television and computer products in Australia. The scheme is funded and run by industry and regulated by the Australian Government under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and the Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations 2011.
The way e-waste is processed can vary between recyclers. In general, mercury, plastics, printed circuit boards, ferrous metals and aluminium are separated from e-waste for recycling.
A new state-of-the-art machine that can mechanically separate TV and computer flat screen panels into clean commodity streams was unveiled at PGM Refiners in Dandenong in 2016. The BluBox technology – the first of its kind in Australia, and one of only seven in place worldwide – can process up to 2,500 tonnes of eWaste each year, and eliminates the need to manually dismantle panels. The technology represents a significant advance in how Victoria processes e-waste. Whereas it would normally take 125 hours for a person to manually dismantle one tonne of LCD televisions, with the BluBox this can be done in one hour. The $1.44 million project was supported by a $470,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria.
Rid your home of dangerous and toxic waste responsibly, with the free Detox your Home program.
Household paint, batteries and fluorescent lights can be dropped off for free. Check with your local council for details.
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