BY SARAH

E-Waste: What You Need to Know

E-waste is electronic waste; everything from fridges to phones, and TVs to batteries. Technology like this often contains toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium, or mercury, and if it ends up in landfill it can easily leak those chemicals into the environment, damaging ecosystems.

Currently, it’s estimated that around 88% of Australia’s e-waste ends up in landfill, and that fewer than 1% of TVs and 10% of computers and laptops are recycled when they break. Recycling takes valuable rare-earth minerals, copper, and gold out of the e-waste and sends it back to manufacturers to be reused.

The industry that recycles e-waste is largely monitored; it’s estimated that Europe exports anywhere between 0.25 and 1.3 million tonnes a year, and in Australia some companies are known to illegally export their e-waste to West Africa or China, where it’s processed in unsafe environments. However, legitimate government e-waste recycling programs do exist, connected to various councils. These councils collect the e-waste and ship it to recycling centers. It’s important that e-waste is recycled responsibly through a government source to stop these illegal exports, which damage both the livelihoods and the health of the people in developing countries who process them.

On Sunday the 11th of September, Mosman Council will be collecting e-waste to recycle and reuse. Don’t miss this opportunity to keep toxic chemicals out of the environment and give your old phones, ipods, laptops, old DVDs and VHS tapes as well as any electrical cords/leads and other devices a new lease of life!

 

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