E-Waste: How Discarding Past Tech Robs Our Future
By Simon Williams · January 29, 2021
More Haste Leaves a Nasty Taste
When we buy the latest iPhone or PC that promises the world and comes with all the bells and whistles, it’s hard to imagine that this technology will one day be surpassed. What’s easier to imagine is where these products will end up, and just how many are not being wasted correctly and going on to fuel future tech innovations. In Australia, E-waste is a growing issue with a number of consequences, despite the many drop-off points and collection services that can take our used technology off our hands and make sure they find their way back into the circular economy.
If it’s time to upgrade your technology, here is what you need to know to recycle these devices and machines ethically and environmentally, and what you need to consider.
E-waste is responsible for 70% of toxic chemicals found in landfill
Incorrectly disposing of your E-waste not only wastes the technology, but it is also contributing to more than 70% of toxic chemicals found in a landfill. This haphazardly discarded lead, cadmium and mercury not only pose a threat to our soil, waterways and people, but it also drives up our CO2 emissions, about 23,000 tonnes worth. This is a huge threat to our community and a completely avoidable issue. This risk is not slowing does, as E-waste is growing three times faster than other waste types.
Disposing of E-waste has never been more accessible
The response to E-waste has been swift and accessible, building on existing recycling frameworks so consumers can easily dispose of their technology at places like IKEA, OfficeWorks, and Australia Post, to name a few. There are also dedicated entities that collect technology types like mobile phones and cartridges, providing convenient drop-off points or even collecting them straight from your door. How and where you drop off your technology will depend if you are an individual or a business so find the right information for your circumstances.
Households are the main culprits
If you are imagining big brands to be responsible for the bulk of the E-waste found in landfill, you would be wrong. Households are actually the key culprits to this growing problem with the Australian Bureau of Statistics finding that 54.4% of household E-waste goes straight into a landfill. This equates to nearly 560,000 tonnes of technology being disposed of incorrectly, so there are huge improvements to be made. The same study found Australia to be one of the top technology users globally, with other countries having lower volumes of E-waste.
Recycling your waste doesn’t put you at any risk
Another reason old phones, computers and printers stay on the top shelf of our cupboards is that there is a fear of data theft if they are passed onto recycling organisations. This misconception is when people choose to bin these devices themselves. Users can actually wipe these devices before they move them on, with recycling companies and manufacturers taking these devices back to the production line to use parts only. MobileMuster is a company with a mission of reducing the use of virgin materials by taking apart old mobile phones. Find a drop-off point or organise a collection today.
Repair and reuse
Businesses and individuals are finding other ways to fight the mounting E-waste problem by extending the life of these technologies. Seeking repair and new parts will avoid needless wasting which has become all too common in our over-consumption reality. Looking for refurbished and second-hand technology is another way you can contribute to the cause, reserving those virgin materials and metals and choosing technology that already exists and works as it should. It’s incredible what you can fix after a quick YouTube tutorial, so challenge yourself by taking a different path.
At CartridgesDirect, recycling technology is more than just a goal, it is our mission. Next time you place a printer cartridge order, request a postage envelope bag so you can deposit your previous eight used cartridges and CartridgesDirect will discard those at the right place using the right methods.
Our cartridge recycling scheme has been funded and designed to provide the ultimate convenience for our customers, so reach out if you have any questions.