What to do with your old computers and TVs.
We love our new technology – in fact Australian’s are among the world’s highest consumers, but what happens to the old when we swap it for new? TechCollect wants to ask you to think carefully about what you do next with the old computers, printers and TVs you replace or upgrade. E-waste is growing three times faster than any other type of waste in Australia and we don’t want it to end up in landfill.
Here are Our Top 10 tips for recycling your e-waste*
1. One in-two out. While a lot of e-waste ends up in landfill, a lot more gets stashed in cupboards, garages, spare rooms and shelves around Australia – meaning we have to keep mining our soil rather than recycling all the precious materials accessible above-the-ground in old technology. So, for every new piece of technology you welcome into your home, commit to recycling two unwanted pieces; we call it the “1-2 rule”, or “one-in, two out”.
2. Stay data safe. Always wipe important or personal files from your computer before taking it to any e-waste recycling service
3. Packaging pollutes. Australians sent about 1.6 million tonnes of packaging to landfill in 2012, or 36 per cent of the approximately 4.4 million tonnes we generated**. So, don’t forget to thoughtfully dispose of the cardboard box and any plastic packaging that came with your new purchase, or that you’ve kept from your old one.
4. Mark your calendar. Circle a month, even twice a year, in your family calendar that you’ll round up and dispose of all your household e-waste every year. Check techcollect.com.au for your nearest collection site, and make it a tradition.
5. Contact your local council to see if they will accept your e-waste.
6. Reincarnated relics. Over 90% of the raw materials like metals (including precious metals), glass and plastic found in a computer can be recycled or re-used if handled by a top-notch recycling service like TechCollect (free of charge to you). So, your old faithful laptop could be reincarnated as jewellery, outdoor furniture, or in plastic fence posts in its next life if you take it to a TechCollect collection site (visit techcollect.com.au).
7. Take it to your work. Take your inspiration to recycle and reuse to work, that is, not your e-waste! If you’re part of a small business, like just over 50% of workers in Australia*** then consider how you can influence e-waste recycling in your workplace – maybe pool resources and do one trip to your nearest TechCollect collection site with everyone’s home and office e-waste together (it’s free). TechCollect has special arrangements for medium to large businesses too, call 1300 229 837 for more information.
9. Tied up in knots. Those random power cables from your old TV, computer, printer or accessory can also be recycled by TechCollect, even if they’re all knotted up in a drawer and you don’t know which cable belongs to which device – bring it with you to your nearest TechCollect site, and thanks to recycling something beautiful could be made out of it!
10. Pay it forward. If your computer or TV is still in good working condition, give it to a family member or friend.
Encourage your friends and family to get involved and take responsibility for their e-waste. Lead by example and help out those that may need it, collect your grandparents’ or parents’ e-waste and make sure it is recycled responsibly.
* Sources: TechCollect, E-waste 2010, Sustainability Matters, Planet Green Recycling, Recycle at Work, Mobile Muster, Zero Waste WA, SITA.com.au.
** Australian Packaging Covenant Council 2013 Annual Report on 2012.
***3 ABS Cat. No. 8155.0.
Why recycle electronic waste?
E-waste is produced at up to three times that of normal household waste production. It can contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated fire retardants that are hazardous, difficult to dispose of and potentially damaging to the environment.
For more information or to find your nearest TechCollect e-waste collection site, visit www.techcollect.com.au or call 1300 229 837.