E-waste is often a taboo subject that a modern society doesn’t like to think about. The initial joy when buying a shiny new toy often doesn’t match up to the feelings and mindset of the same customer when it comes to thinking about disposing an item of technology. As one of the highest users of technology, it’s time that Australians manage their e-waste disposal properly. Technology is moving at a very alarming rate and iPhones, iPads, smartphones, laptops, computers and televisions have shorter and shorter lifespans.
There are a few ways you could effectively manage your e-waste including bringing the items that you want to discard to a proper waste disposal facility. Information can be obtained from your local council on how to get this process started. If your item is still functioning properly, you might want to think about donating it to a charity or a family member to prolong its lifespan.
E-waste is growing very fast to become the largest type of waste in Australia – growing almost three times faster than any other type of waste. However, up to 90% of the makeup of television and computers can be recycled and contain materials such as glass, plastic, copper, steel and aluminium.
In Australia, the government is responsible for the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989 and ensures the execution of the country’s responsibilities under the Basel Convention; the purpose of this convention is which to minimise harm to human health and the environment by hazardous wastes and other wastes. As a general rule, unprocessed or “whole” computers and televisions cannot be sent overseas from Australia.
When e-waste is collected at a specific waste disposal facility, most e-waste will be disassembled by hand or mechanicallyshredded. The smaller parts will then be sorted into various categories in preparation for the next stage of the recycling process. These smaller parts can be sent overseas for further reprocessing.
There are various recycling programmes in the US which imposes a recycling tax on new products – this ensures that local recycling centres have enough funding to continue to process the e-waste as the inadvertent result of new technology. E-waste is a very real and very serious issue which needs to be taken seriously guided by the processes that governments have put in place and the awareness which comes from individuals ourselves.