What is e-waste and how do you dispose of it properly?
With technology advancing speedily and new electronics available at cheaper prices, people are using them more than ever. The older, outdated smartphones, TVs, and other electronics are replaced with their new and improved versions. As a result, the volume of electronic waste, or e-waste, is growing exponentially.
Around 40 billion e-waste piles up yearly around the world. In fact, e-waste is today the fastest-growing component of the Australian municipal solid waste stream.
E-waste is harmful to the environment and the living entities on earth. Hence, treating e-waste is crucial. In this blog, we will learn more about what is e-waste, the risks of e-waste and how to dispose of it properly.
What Is e-waste?
The old or spare TVs, smartphones, cables, printers, and other electric appliances you see piling up around your home are all forms of e-waste.
According to Wikipedia, used electronics that are discarded and destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage recycling through material recovery, or disposal are considered e-waste.
Electronic waste includes various products, including every household or commercial item with electrical components, power supply, or circuitry.
Types of Electronic Waste
According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), e-waste can be broadly into six categories, including:
- Screens & Monitors from televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, and notebooks.
- Small IT and Telecommunication Equipment, including mobile phones, telephones, printers, personal computers, pocket calculators, and Global Positioning System (GPS).
- Lamps, including LED lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, and fluorescent lamps.
- Temperature exchange equipment, including freezers, refrigerators, heat pumps, and air conditioners.
- Small equipment, including microwaves, toasters, vacuum cleaners, ventilation equipment, electric kettles, calculators, electric shavers, radio sets, scales, electrical and electronic toys, small electrical and electronic tools, video cameras, small monitoring and control instruments, and small medical devices.
- Large equipment, including clothes dryers, washing machines, electric stoves, dish-washing machines, large printing machines, photovoltaic panels, and copying equipment.
Now that you know what electronic waste is and its types, the next section discusses the risks of e-waste.
E-waste in Australia
Australia has one of the highest numbers of technology consumers across the globe, making it a top e-waste contributor. Here are some shocking facts about e-waste generation in Australia:
- Over 3 million TVs and 4 million smartphones are purchased annually in Australia, 88% of which end up in landfills. This will contribute to the 140,000+ tonnes of e-waste generated by Australians annually.
- It is anticipated that TVs and computers will produce over 181 tonnes (44 million units) of e-waste from 2027 to 2028 and will all end up in landfills.
Why Is e-waste Such A Problem?
You are partially correct if you think e-waste is just old, unused electronic appliances that end up in landfills just like any other household waste. However, you aren’t aware of the risks that e-waste causes to the environment and living organisms.
Electronics contain harmful compounds and chemicals like mercury, cadmium, lead, and nickel that cause soil pollution. It is responsible for nearly 70% of these toxic chemicals found in landfills. These harmful chemicals can seep into the soil and pollute the groundwater, affecting nearby vegetation and animal species.
Another harmful effect of e-waste is air pollution. Undisposed electronic waste, if burned, can harm the atmosphere and air we breathe. Burning e-waste releases harmful gases and toxic chemicals into the air, which aren’t healthy for the living organisms on earth. Breathing such polluted air can lead to various health issues in humans and other living species.
Electronics are indeed risk-free and safe for daily use. However, the problem arises when you simply dispose of them and do not treat them as they should. To understand the right disposal of e-waste, it’s essential to know the different ways to manage it.
Types of e-waste Management
Managing e-waste is essential to save the environment and living species from its harmful effects. And there are three ways to achieve it:
- Reuse: It involves using the old equipment for an alternative new purpose or refurbishing it to use it for its original purpose. For example, giving your old smartphone or TV to someone who needs it.
- Recycle: It involves breaking down the old equipment and using the materials to create new products. For example, the glass screens of CRT monitors and TVs containing lead were earlier used to produce new CRTs.
- Proper Disposal: It refers to disposing of old equipment to reduce its environmental impact.
Of all the above methods, recycling is the most preferred and significant option for managing e-waste. The process comprises a step-by-step mechanism from collecting the e-waste to completely recycling it using the right techniques and resources.
How Can You Contribute To e-waste Management?
While government and non-government bodies worldwide are actively taking measures to reduce e-waste and its impact, you, as an individual, can contribute to this cause. Here are some ways to contribute to e-waste management:
- Repair your electronic devices instead of buying new ones right away. Contact the retailer or manufacturer of the device and seek information on how you could repair it.
- Have separate skip bins at your home or business for disposing of different types of waste. This is the easiest way you can help keep the risks of e-waste at bay.
- Consider buying a refurbished electronic instead of buying a new one. This will not just save you money but also minimise landfill.
- Consider donating the older electronic device to a needy or someone who cannot afford it and making it useful again.
- Go for the trade-in option and exchange your old device for a new one. Such companies ensure proper recycling of e-devices.
Increasing e-waste has become a global concern. It’s time we all take the concern seriously and take the necessary actions to combat it at the individual level. Remember, every contribution counts!
Dispose of e-waste with Melbourne Skip Bin Hires
Become an active contributor to e-waste management by hiring a skip bin at Melbourne Skip Bin Hires and disposing of electronic waste responsibly. Hire our skip bins to dispose of old or impaired TVs, mobile phones, printers, etc. Our skip bins are suitable for e-waste from homes, schools, and businesses in and around Melbourne. Choose our With over a decade of experience, we are today a trusted name for hassle-free waste removal in Melbourne.
So, if you have e-waste at your home or office to dispose of, get in touch with us at 0423 666 007. You can also book your skip bin right away, and we ensure to deliver it the next day!