> What is e-waste?
E-waste (electronic waste) is any item with a plug, battery or cord that is no longer working or wanted.
- This includes larger household white goods such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, ovens and microwaves.
- Home entertainment products such as televisions, CD players, DVD players, tablets, laptops, computers, mobile phones and other handheld electronic devises.
- Electrical gardening equipment such as hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, electric chainsaws, whipper snippers and electric lawn mowers.
- Smaller household items such as toasters, kettles, irons, lamps, battery operated or electronic toys, hairdryers, fans, heaters and printers.
> Why is the Victorian Government banning e-waste from landfill and when?
The Victorian Government is banning all e-waste from landfill from 1 July 2019 to protect our environment and recover more precious resources.
The e-waste landfill ban is included in the EPA’s Variation to Waste Management Policy (Siting, Design and Management of Landfills).
> Why should we recover e-waste?
There are a number of important reasons to recover e-waste:
- Reduce landfill. E-waste is growing three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia, due to increased technology trends and consumer demand for new products as well as reduced product lifespan
- Protect the air, soil and waterways from harmful materials. E-waste contains hazardous materials, which can harm the environment and human health
- Minimise consumption of raw materials to produce electronic products
- Reduce greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.
> What happens to e-waste?
Your e-waste will be safely stored until it can be transferred to an e-waste processing facility. E-waste is then taken apart, shredded and sorted, depending on the processor. But it has to be handled carefully as toxic metals may be present. In general, mercury, plastics, printed circuit boards, ferrous metals and aluminium are separated from e-waste.
There are numerous useful and/or valuable materials in e-waste which can be recovered such as gold, silver, copper, aluminium, platinum and cobalt. These materials can either be used to produce the next new wave of technological innovation, or simply be reused elsewhere. Most importantly, they should not be lost to landfill.
> What is the impact of e-waste on the environment?
E-waste contains hazardous materials, which can harm the environment and human health. These can include mercury, arsenic, cadmium, solvent, acid and lead. These dangerous chemicals can leach into soil and groundwater, or release into the air. Many of these substances are particularly dangerous because they do not break down easily, meaning they stay in the environment for a very long time.
> What should I do with my e-waste?
All Victorians are being asked to manage their e-waste by taking it to their nearest e-waste drop-off point.
City of Whittlesea residents can drop off their e-waste for free at:
Hanson’s Wollert Landfill
55 Bridge Inn Road, Wollert
Phone: 9408 1299
304 Mahoneys Road, Thomastown
Phone: 9357 3900
Whitegoods can also be collected for free by phoning Kids Off The Kerb on 9982 5600. (Note: Kids Off The Kerb are currently experiencing long waiting periods for collections.)
Take cameras, mobile phones, household batteries, CDs, DVDs, fluorescent light globes, printer cartridges, X-rays and small e-waste items like MP3 players to one of our recycling stations.
> How can I get my data from my phone or computer before taking it to an e-waste drop-off point?
Every phone and computer is different so we recommend you check with the item’s manufacturer to work out the best way to securely backup or erase your data. Further details are available at ewaste.vic.gov.au
Tips to minimise your e-waste
There are many things you can do to minimise your e-waste. Below are some tips that can help:
> Re-evalute if your really need a new item or device
- When you purchase a product you don’t really need, or only need for a one-off job, there’s a good chance it will end up sitting at the back of a draw, packed away in the shed, or become one more thing you eventually want to get rid o
- If you do need an electrical item for a specific job, it is worth seeing first if you can borrow or rent one
- Ensuring items are used more than once is a great way to reduce e-waste.
> Before upgrading your device, consider the second-hand market
- The idea of regularly upgrading devices, especially mobile phones, has become common in our society. For a number of reasons, primarily the rate at which new models are released, we often feel compelled to purchase a newer model
- It is worth asking yourself exactly why you need a new device. If you decide you do, before you look at new ones try looking in the second-hand market where you can purchase models that are professionally refurbished and come with a warranty.
> Extend the life of your devices
- A relatively straightforward way to reduce your e-waste is to get the most out of your current devices. Keep them clean, avoid overcharging battery-run devices and use protective covers on tablets and phones.
> Donate or sell working electronics
- One way to stop our electric items entering the waste stream is to give or sell them to people who will find a use for them. Not only will this extend their life but it could also earn you a bit of money in the process.
- Another way to stop our unwanted electric items entering the waste stream is to extend their life by repairing them. See if a local repairer can fix your broken electrical appliance.
For more information go to ewaste.vic.gov.au.