I consider myself a tech savvy guy. I am always reading articles and watching YouTube videos to stay up to date on the latest devices. With technology constantly changing, it made me wonder, what should I do with my old devices?
Once I have a new device, I immediately forget about my unused devices and they are shoved into cupboards or drawers. At last count, I have collected 5 mobile phones, 2 laptops and 3 gaming consoles. And this won’t stop me from buying new devices.
We as Australians have multiple devices in our homes, but are they being used or just gathering dust? According to an article by News.com.au Australian households have up to 20 devices. As it’s unlikely for one household to actively use 20 devices, it makes me wonder, to what extent, are we hoarding devices. We know how to dispose of recyclable and residual waste, but what about e-waste?
All of us are in constant evolution, keeping up with the changes. Australians have been described as the highest user of technology in the world. We purchase over 2.4 million computers every year and estimated 22.5 million mobile phones are lying idle in Aussie homes by Planet Ark.
In 2011, the Australian Government, Department of the Environment, started a scheme called “The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme”. 1,800 collection services have been developed and made available to us all. To date, they have collected and recycled more than 130,000 tonnes of e-waste.
Local Councils are primarily responsible for the implementation of waste disposal methods. Pittwater council has created a collection drive and published an information chart with a comprehensive A-Z guide with an instructional key, explaining how to best dispose of specific items and materials.
Landfills collect an excessive amount of recoverable household e-waste. Ms. Penelope Jacobs from Kimbriki Environmental Enterprises Pty Ltd informed me “last financial year we sent 552 tonnes of e-waste to be recycled”.
Clean Up Australia has identified that we are throwing 3 times more e-waste into landfill than household garbage and only 10% of the e-waste is being recycled, as shown in the graph on the right.
So, what are the steps to take in reducing e-waste? What about the information on my devices? It seems too much effort for me and if I keep them will they disappear?
There are companies who are collecting e-waste, companies like TechCollect and Mobile Muster. Planet Ark has also placed recycling bins in Shopping Centres’ electronic retail stores for e-waste disposal.
Image Source: Clean Up Australia E-Waste Factsheet
TechCollect has been collecting e-waste nationwide. The chart below shows how much e-waste has been collected and recycled to date.
Information on our devices is important to us all. There are multiple ways to transfer data onto new devices, either by getting someone to do it and even using How to videos. Once you have your precious data, you can resurrect your device(s) by getting it fixed, re-use by selling or donating, or recycle it to reduce landfill.
I’m going to sell my phone and donate my computer. What are you going to do?