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What is e-waste? How to dispose of your electronic goods

What is e-waste? How to dispose of your electronic goods.


phone about to turn off

Key steps

Follow our key steps to take care of your e-waste:

  1. Have a look around your house for electronics that may be unused or broken.

  2.  Think about using working electronic devices for longer.

  3.  Consider refurbishing or donating working items and recycling others.

  4.  Take items for recycling to specialist centres.

Wondering how to dispose of electronics you no longer use? Or where should you take them? Perhaps you’re unsure about what can be recycled? Well, here are the e-waste facts that tell you all about how and where to recycle electronics.

Familiarise yourself with where to recycle electronics in your area. For more information about your local recycling centre, check your local council’s website or government websites.

What is e-waste and why is e-waste a problem?

In simple terms, e-waste is the term given to electronic goods that are either at the end or near the end of their life. This includes TVs, phones, computers, copiers and tablets. Here are some e-waste facts to get you thinking:

  • Around 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated globally – that’s around the same mass as 125,000 jumbo jets!

  •  The average Australian household generates over 70kg of e-waste per year.

  • Around two-thirds of the world’s population is covered by e-waste legislation.

  • For each tonne of e-waste that gets recycled, the equivalent of one home could be powered for a year.

  • The annual value of global e-waste is worth more than the GDP of over 100 countries!

But why is e-waste a problem? Well, when it’s not properly disposed of and ends up in landfill, harmful toxins like mercury and lead can be released into the soil and water sources. That contamination can lead to pollution of water and damage to ecosystems.

How and where to recycle electronics

Learning how to recycle e-waste helps lower its impact on the environment. Given that nearly 100% of electronics can be recycled – there’s no real reason not to do so! Plus, by taking responsibility for our own e-waste, we can feel good about reducing the negative impact on our planet.

Here are three of the most common ways to recycle your e-waste:

  1. Return the product to the manufacturer – many companies offer trade-in options, so you could even save some cash on your next purchase.

  2. Donate – if you’re wondering how to recycle e-waste that’s still working, donating is a great way to reduce waste. Some organisations will also take old electronics that can be refurbished.

  3. Drop off at a recycling centre – let the experts dispose of your e-waste safely and responsibly.

In addition to recycling your old stuff, you could think twice before you swap out last year’s model for this year’s offering. Ask yourself – do I really need the new version? 

How that you've got a better idea of what e-waste is, why it's a problem, and how to dispose of electronics safely, you might be inspired. Find more information about this in our article on what can be recycled. When we have the right info, we can all do our bit!

Originally published