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E-waste

 What is e-waste?

E-waste – or electronic waste - refers to electronic products that are no longer wanted or working.

If it’s got a plug, battery or cord and is unwanted, it’s e-waste.  It could be any of a whole range of items from work, home or even the garden shed. From old phones, computers and household appliances to power tools and toys.

E-waste (or electronic waste) is full of valuable resources we can reuse, as well as some nasty materials that are bad for the environment. Rather than putting it in the bin and sending it to landfill, we should take it to a better place where we can remove the bad and save the good.

E-waste is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste. The good news is that e-waste is more than 95 per cent recyclable. For example, old mobile phones can be recycled to make stainless steel goods, new batteries and even plastic fence posts.

Interesting facts

  • It takes around 100,000 phones to recover 1 kilogram of gold.
  • 99% of your mobile phone can be recycled and re-used.
  • 208,256 trees planted is equivalent to carbon emission savings of recycling 26,032 tonnes of e-waste.
  • 1 in 5 Australians admit to hoarding their old electronic devices.


Why recycle it?

There are many reasons why you should recycle e-waste. 

1. It’s good for the environment.

All e-waste products can contain hazardous materials. Ranging from heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium to ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) and flame retardants. 
Even in small amounts, these dangerous chemicals can cause environmental contamination. 
But when you multiply it by the millions of e-waste items being left in landfills, the situation becomes much more serious.


2. It’s good to recover and reuse. 

E-waste also contains a whole range of valuable materials, including tin, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper, silver, gold and plastic.
A million mobile phones contain an estimated 15–16 tonnes of copper, 340–350 kilograms of silver and 24–34 kilograms of gold. When you consider there are more than 22 million discarded mobile handsets in Australia and growing, we’re throwing away a lot of precious resources.

3. Keep it out of landfill.

In 2016, 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide. Of this enormous figure, only about 20 per cent, or 8.9 million metric tonnes was recycled. The rest ended up in landfill. 
Hazardous and precious metals aside, this huge volume of ‘stuff’ we’re trying to hide underground is not sustainable. When you think about all the other rubbish that goes to landfill, keeping e-waste out is a much smarter idea.


Where can I take my e-waste (electronic waste)?

While you can’t put your e-waste in your kerbside rubbish, recycling and garden waste bins, you can take it to one of many different locations around the state to recycle it. You can find your nearest e-waste recycling depot by visiting ewaste.vic.gov.au

There are a range of recycling and disposal options available within (or in the vicinity of) Greater Dandenong - depending on what the e-waste item is.