The Victorian Government is banning e-waste in landfills from July 2019 and has announced a $16.5 million package to encourage safe management of hazardous materials found in e-waste, and enable greater recovery of the valuable materials, ultimately leading to a more stable industry and more jobs for Victoria.
This will particularly benefit community or social enterprises who employ those who might otherwise face significant barriers to employment.
Sustainability Victoria's role in e-waste
Sustainability Victoria launched a new campaign, delivering a $1.5 million community education program on 4 July 2018 to educate Victorians about the value of e-waste and how it can be recycled.
The campaign features a new website, ewaste.vic.gov.au, an animated video showcasing the valuable materials inside our electronics and social media and digital advertising.
What is e-waste?
E-waste – or electronic waste – refers to electronic products that are no longer wanted or working, including:
- CD players
- mobile phones
Why recycle e-waste?
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. 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:
- reduce landfill
- protect the air and waterways from harmful materials
- minimise consumption of raw materials to produce electronic products
- reduce greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.
How to recycle e-waste
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.
E-waste drop-off points
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 e-waste by:
- participating in council run services until the national scheme is fully rolled out
- contacting your local council for information on disposal options in your area
- passing the goods (if they are still working) on to friends or family.
Why a National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme?
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.
What happens to recycled e-waste?
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.
Australia's first e-waste processing machine
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 e-waste 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.