Recycling our e-waste

Our high turnover of tech gear (phones, TVs, computers, etc) is responsible for a correspondingly high quantity of worryingly toxic waste cascading into our rubbish bins and thence to landfill. I wrote about the issue eighteen months ago when a Southern recycling company laudably took the trouble to visit Townsville but the topic is worth revisiting now, especially since we have just enjoyed Christmas and are consequently about to enjoy (if that’s the right word) disposing of old stuff to make room for our presents. (How long does the transition from favourite gadget to junk take, anyway? Longer than ripping off some wrapping paper?)

e-waste infographicAs it happens, a second e-waste recycler contacted me a couple of months ago to see whether I would post their infographic here but I couldn’t find time before Christmas to do so. Here it is now – just click on it to see a larger version, or right-click (control-click) on it to download one – and here’s what they told me about themselves:

PC RECYCLERS is an e-waste collection and recycling company, helping Australian organisations do their part for the environment. Based in Brisbane, the PC RECYCLERS team offer free collection of e waste to schools, businesses and organisations throughout Queensland and nationwide. For specific e-waste recycling services such as computer recycling, PC RECYCLERS provide free data destruction to Department of Defence 5220.22M standards with disposal reporting. For more information on their services or to organise a free collection in Townsville or the wider NQ area, visit www.pcrecyclers.com.au

Now that’s all fine, and I don’t mind giving them a plug for it, but we still have a problem at the household level: they offer, “free collection of e waste to schools, businesses and organisations,” and I don’t think my household qualifies as any of the above. Do we have to get (for instance) NQCC to organise a community collection? Could we suggest that our nearest school does it? In return for a donation, maybe?

There are obviously strong possibilities here for groups with initiative but each of them will only collect from a small percentage of households so we are still only intercepting a small percentage of our e-waste. This is clearly a work in progress – but at least it is now in progress.

More information

The PC RECYCLERS chart lists website references but you can’t just click on them and they are a bit old anyway. These links take you to the organisations the chart refers to but not to exactly the same documents:

2 thoughts on “Recycling our e-waste”

  1. We still have – and contribute to – serious problems:
    “A computer monitor from St George Bank, destined for recycling in Australia, has been found on a toxic e-waste dump in west Africa, being pulled apart by children as young as five.
    At Agbogbloshie dump, in Ghana’s capital, Accra, children tear apart e-waste from western nations with their hands, and burn circuit boards over open fires to melt out the precious metals.
    Broken or redundant computers are considered hazardous waste and are illegal to ship out of Australia — so the discovery of the bank monitor raises serious questions about the integrity and regulation of Australia’s growing e-waste problem.
    St George Bank, wholly owned by Westpac, claims gold standard environmental stewardship.
    It says it followed the “right processes to ensure the St George Bank monitor was despatched” to their recycling partner.”
    More at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-10/australian-e-waste-ending-up-in-toxic-african-dump/8339760

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