Disposing common household electronic items

The ubiquity of electronic gadgets worldwide has made life increasingly easy. They have also created significant challenges, particularly, when it comes to the proper disposal of electronic waste once they reach the end of their life cycle. The United Nations estimates that in 2015, 75 million tonnes of electronic waste was discarded globally, with Australia being one of the worst global offenders. Nationally, it is estimated that 20 kilograms of electronic waste is generated per capita in Australia.

While some of us organise council pick-ups and try and be much more considerate in how we dispose of electronics, many of us think that leaving them on the side of the street is the norm. Walk down any street on any given day and you will just how prevalent this practice is. This is a serious cause for concern as televisions, computers, laptops, phones and batteries are made up of heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, iron, zinc, arsenic and bromine) and persistent plastics. These materials are incredibly toxic in the environment and are classed as carcinogens.

In an effort to reduce the environmental footprint of discarded electronics and implement more sustainability into their life cycle, a number of recycling schemes have been established in Australia. Despite this though, we are still not aware of where some of the most common electronic items can be taken for environmentally conscious disposal.

I have decided to do some preliminary research and put together a list of places where some of the most common electronic items can be taken for recycling. Many of these places are common in local suburbs so best check which works for you. 

Toners

Where: Office Works and Australia Post

Comment: This is a free service provided by both in partnership with Planet Ark.

Ink Cartridges

Where: Office Works and Australia Post

Comment: This is a free service provided by both in partnership with Planet Ark.

Mobile Phones (ensure that all personal information is deleted from the phone)

Where: The Salvation Army, The St Vincent de Paul Society, Australia Post, Office Works, Council pick-up day and Marrickville Pay it Forward

Comment: You can donate your old phone to places like the Salvation Army and Vinnies. Please ensure that the phone and the accessories are in good working condition. In December, Mobile Muster donates $2 to the Salvation Army for every 1kg of mobile phones and accessories collected. Both Office Works and Australia Post provide free Mobile Muster service.

Computers/laptops/tablets (ensure that all personal information is deleted from the phone)

Where: The Salvation Army, The St Vincent de Paul, Bower Repair and Re-use Centre, Office Works, Council pick-up day and Marrickville Pay it Forward

Comment: You can donate your old computers/laptops/tablet to places like the Salvation Army and Vinnies. Please ensure that all accessories are included and in working good working condition. The Bower Repair Centre might be able to repair your computer/laptop/tablet but you need to call and check with them first.

Television sets

Where: The Salvation Army, The St Vincent de Paul, Bower Repair and Re-use Centre, Office Works, Council pick-up day and Marrickville Pay it Forward

Batteries

Where: Aldi, Ikea, Council pick-up day and Battery World

Comment: Aldi and Ikea do not accept vehicle batteries. Council pick up and Battery World accept all types of batteries, inducing ones from vehicles.

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