E-waste in Australia is a growing problem and a national waste priority. Electrical appliances contain many valuable but toxic components and should be diverted from landfill through reuse or recycling.
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Electrical appliances such as DVD players, faxes and phones are forms of e-waste, which is a growing problem worldwide and is a national waste priority. An increase in ownership of electrical appliances and changing technology results in large quantities of electronics being discard to landfill. Much of this waste is in working condition and could be reused. Electrical appliances are made up of a number of different components, many of which are hazardous waste. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic as well as flame-retardants can cause environmental contamination through leaching from e-waste in landfill into water systems. By recycling this contamination can be avoided and around 95% of materials can be recovered for reuse in new materials.
Australia does not currently have a national e-waste recycling scheme, although there are collection programs for some of these wastes such as mobile phones, computers and printer cartridges. Please see these categories for more information.
Some suppliers operate take back schemes for their electrical products. The costs of these systems are mostly built into the price of the product and provide a convenient avenue for electrical appliance recycling.
There are also a number of independent companies that recycle, refurbish or reuse electrical appliances & accessories in Australia.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Electrical appliances are dismantled and put through several delicate processes in order to recover around 95% of materials. The raw material recovered, such as glass, copper, plastics and metals, can then be processed and then put to good use in the production of new materials.