If your old computer, TV, phone or any kind of electronic is in good condition then your first option will probably be to sell it second hand. You’ll be able to get a bit of cash to put towards new gadgets or devices, and your old electronics will find a new home outside of a landfill – a win-win. If your old tech has reached the end of its life, however, then it’s probably time to throw it out, which is where things get a bit tricky.
Each year Australians dispose of over 100,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste), including computers, computer parts and accessories, TVs and mobile phones. That’s about 5kg a person on average. The problem is that most of these electronics contain hazardous materials that don’t mix well in general landfills. If left too long in tips and landfills, the toxic substances in electronics (like mercury, lead, phosphorus etc.) can leak into the soil and impact the local environment.
The good news is that about 95% of these electronics can be recycled or disposed of safely. Most electronic products contain valuable materials like gold, platinum, plastics, glass and lead, which more often than not can be salvaged and reused. Even if a computer or TV has reached the end of its life, it can still be disassembled and parts used in the production of new electronics.
Disposing of your Old Electronics
For businesses, in particular, the turnover period for computers and other electronics can be frequent. Things like printer cartridges, light bulbs and batteries are especially common. That means disposing of these things becomes a pretty regular job and not all (if any) of them can be put straight into the general waste or recycling bin.
TechCollect was set up by the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) and is funded and supported by many of Australia’s leading computer and TV manufacturers and importers. TechCollect partners with local councils and waste management organisations across Australia to provide its service to households and businesses. You are able to drop off end-of-life and unwanted computers, computer accessories and TVs at sites throughout Australia and because TechCollect is fully supported by industry, this is completely free!
For the Smaller Things
For bigger cleanouts or larger electronic items then TechCollect waste disposal stations are perfect, but for smaller, more day-to-day e-waste, Officeworks also has a great recycling program. They actually have a few different Recycling Programs designed for different kinds of e-waste and drop off points are available at most of their stores.
The Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program lets you drop off empty ink and toner cartridges to be recycled safely. Officeworks are also part of the Mobile Muster and TerraCycle Zero Waste Box programs that recycle old phones as well as pens, desk items and coffee pods.
Disposing of old electronics can be time-consuming and sometimes expensive for businesses. Programs like these make it a lot cheaper, easier and safer for both businesses and consumers to get rid of their e-waste without sending it to landfills.