What is electronic waste (e-waste) and how to deal with it?

E-waste are electronic items such as computers, phones, televisions, stereos, fax machines, and more that are unwanted, broken, or nearing the end of their potential for use.

In short, it is physical electronic equipment that has been graded as junk.

While this has been an issue for quite some time, e-waste has only increased with the high turnover of phone and computer models, and other increased use of fast-evolving technology.

“Did you know that although up to 98% of the components in your computer or television can be fully recycled, electronic rubbish is growing at three times the rate of any other waste stream?"(1)

Why is e-waste an issue?

When e-waste is not disposed of correctly (which it often isn’t), it can lead to toxic substances within those products like mercury, lead, beryllium, or cadmium causing environmental damage and creating increased risk to our water, soil, air and even wildlife.

When there is enough of it in one area such as landfill, the poisonous products within e-waste can leach into the soil below and flow into local water supplies.

What can we do to help counteract e-waste?

Here are our tips on preventing or reducing the risk of e-waste on the environment.

  • Hold off on your device upgrade
  • Refurbish old products or devices
  • Let your old electronic products be hand-me-downs, pass them on to someone else
  • Sell your used items
  • Trade in old products for new ones
  • Find ways to re-use your devices like donating them to charity
  • If you can, return the item to the manufacturer
  • Look for e-waste recycling facilities near you, take your items there

(1) https://www.cleanup.org.au/reduce-ewaste?gclid=CjwKCAjw-8qVBhANEiwAfjXLrq5haPoJ_i8tDIvCvmhggHUHfCICEXW-1gfguy8BznA0yGPPoVWg1RoCHokQAvD_BwE

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