E-waste can’t go in your rubbish or recycling bin. It has to be taken to an e-waste drop-off point.
Where to take your e-waste
When e-waste is disposed of correctly, it can be repurposed. This reduces the need to mine for new metals and materials.
Repurposing e-waste is undertaken by professionals, often using the following process.
Depending on the type of device, it may be manually disassembled.
After initial disassembly, the remaining items and components are sent to a shredder. This reduces the size of components to between 1cm and 10cm. All data is destroyed from devices at this point. But don't forget to properly remove your personal data before dropping off your e-waste.
Sorting of the shredded material is often a manual process, though automated machines are also used.
Several processes are used including:
Once all the materials have been sorted into their raw form they can be resold to suppliers to make new products.
While most of our e-waste is dismantled into its various components here in Australia, some materials are sent overseas for final processing. Many batteries are sent to South Korea, while circuit boards and batteries go to Singapore for processing. Other components, such as copper, steel and plastics, are smelted here in Australia.
The goal is to make a closed loop. This means a new product isn’t made from raw materials. Instead, it’s made from materials that have been recovered from used products. This, in turn, makes the new products completely recoverable too, so the loop continues.
Once all the different materials of your e-waste are back in the supply chain, they can be reused to make almost anything.
Plastic is reused in:
Batteries are reused as new batteries.
Precious metals are reused in jewellery and new electronics.
Glass is recycled into:
Other metals are reused in new products and cabling.