Anything with a plug, battery or cord that is no longer working or wanted is e-waste. It includes items like computers, mobile phones, printers, televisions, heaters and gaming consoles.
The reasons behind the ban are twofold: e-waste contains hazardous materials that are bad for our health and the environment, but it also contains valuable resources we could be recycling.
When e-waste is left in landfill, materials like lead, mercury or cadmium for example, can leach into groundwater and soil, or be released into the air, impacting the environment and our health.
The valuable materials found in e-waste, such as copper, gold and silver, can be extracted and reused. While there are only small amounts in each discarded item, it adds up. For example, a million mobile phones contain around 15–16 tonnes of copper, 340–350 kilograms of silver and 24–34 kilograms of gold. When you consider there are more than 22 million discarded mobile handsets in Australia and growing, we’re throwing away a lot of precious resources.
Where does e-waste go from 1 July?
There are more than 1,000 e-waste collection points across Victoria, including at local council transfer stations, Officeworks stores and Mobile Muster locations where you can drop your e-waste.
The Victorian Government has invested more than $15 million to increase the number of e-waste collection points through the E-Waste Infrastructure Support Program.
It has also invested $1.5 million to help Victorian local councils upgrade their e-waste collection and storage facilities and educate communities about responsible e-waste disposal.
The government’s $25.3 million Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund (RRIF) is also supporting the development of infrastructure that improves the collection, sorting and recycling of priority materials, including e-waste. The government has recently committed to funding more than $700,000 to projects that will improve Victoria’s ability to process e-waste.
E-waste is the fastest-growing stream of waste worldwide. In Australia, it’s increasing three times faster than general waste to landfill.
Remember, that from 1 July, you must dispose of at an e-waste at a collection point near you. But you can start today, if you like.
Page last updated: 27/07/20