Look around your home, your drawers, to be exact. We know you see a pile of obsolete and broken gadgets. Why is your first phone still there?
We’re often told that mixing our electronic wastes (E-wastes) with general rubbish is harmful. That’s true. These gadgets have built-in batteries containing toxic chemicals. Later on, these contaminate landfills and pollute the water system through leachate.
Hence, E-waste disposal becomes a problem, especially in a country so fond of using electronics and staying updated with the latest technology. Australians purchase over 4 million computers and send about 37 million to landfills every year.
Once these gadgets pile up at home, it’s either we discard them or just learn to live with them in fear of contributing to the problem. Is there really no other option?
Can Electronics Be Recycled?
When faced with two undesirable choices, there’s usually a third and better option that requires extra steps. In this case, it’s recycling.
Most people assume that gadgets are not as recyclable as plastics. But, in reality, many recycling facilities accept metals and batteries from phones and computers. After all, 95 to 98% of phone and computer components are recyclable for other purposes.
As for delivering these gadgets to recycling facilities, rubbish removalists, like Paul’s Rubbish Removal, are all around Sydney to help you drop off your E-wastes.
So, how exactly are electronics recycled?
E-waste Recycling in Australia
The Land Down Under is known for its recycling efforts and other sustainable initiatives. But, still, only less than 10% of E-wastes are recycled yearly. Maybe it’s because of a lack of awareness or valuable information on recycling electronics.
Whatever the reason, here are essential things to remember in recycling your phones, laptops, and computers and some notable institutions and government recycling programs.
Phones are deemed the easiest to recycle since they are lightweight and full of valuable metals (i.e. gold, silver, copper, and platinum) and other versatile components (e.g. plastic casing).
But, despite its excellent recyclability, 23 million phones are still hidden in drawers and discarded in landfills each year.
Some leading recycling companies that accept mobile phones in Australia are the following:
1. Mobile Muster (Website)
Mobile Muster is the leading organisation for recycling mobile phones and phone batteries. It provides recycling services across Australia. All you have to do is drop your old or broken phones at any of their over 3500 public collection points. These even include mobile phone stores like Optus and Samsung stores.
Furthermore, you can see how much difference your little recycling decision can make through their MobileMuster Calculator.
2. Fonebank (Website)
Another trusted partner for phone recycling is Fonebank. Essentially, the company evaluates and pays for pre-used phones when customers upgrade to a newer model. These used phones will then be revamped and made available for use in developing countries struggling to connect with their loved ones.
They also provide free courier collection for 15 or more phones and safe disposal of surrendered broken phones.
Laptops and Computers
Like phones, laptops and computers contain valuable metals and components. Since they mainly end up in landfills, the Australian government and private organisations also dedicate schemes and programs to recycle these electronics. Some of these are:
1. National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) (Website)
Each Australian state and territory have drop-off points for computer and laptop recycling through this government program. The government must pay businesses and households participating in this scheme.
However, they don’t accept every broken electronic out there. Specifically, it only covers the following:
- Desktop computers
- Laptops and notebooks
- Central Processing Units (CPUs)
2. eCycle Solutions (Website)
QLS Group, a warehousing, logistics and distribution company, started the eCycle Solutions. It offers its business partners a low-cost E-waste and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) disposal.
These are just some of Australia’s E-waste recycling initiatives. You can still find more through Recycling Near You. Planet Ark powers and administers this extensive database of all e-cycling information across Australia.
Not all recyclers accept batteries because of their toxicity and recycling complexity. Hence, Australia also established Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) in 2008 to promote proper battery recycling.
In the years to come, people and businesses will generate more E-wastes as we continue to rely on technology. Major brands and even the government are already doing their bit in managing this waste. How about you?
It’s never too late to recycle. Start the new year right by emptying your drawers and dropping your old phones in the nearest recycling centres.