The Problem of E-Waste and How it is Dealt with

The average Australian household today has a huge number of electronic items whether it be phones, computers or whatever else. And at some point, it’s all going to be obsolete; it’s going to be junk. Indeed, Australia’s volume of e-waste is increasing three times as quickly as general waste. So it pays to be mindful of how this waste is disposed of and steps we can take to make this process as efficient as possible. Read on to find out more about e-waste and the issues surrounding it.

What is E-Waste?

E-waste covers a wide range of electrical equipment that is obsolete and no longer in use or functioning at all. This includes old computer equipment, televisions, cables, kitchen appliances such as toasters, lamps, air conditions and heaters,  vacuum cleaners and mobile/landline phones to name a few. As you can imagine, we produce a great of e-waste as a country and we are constantly updating our electrical equipment in modern times, where technology is improving rapidly.

Also, this kind of waste can contain any number of materials and metals such as copper and even lead. This fact alone makes them potentially dangerous to dispose of as we would other types of wastes and hence we categorised them differently.

How is E-Waste Disposed of?

So what exactly do we do with all this junk? This kind of waste can’t simply be thrown in a landfill, it will take a serious toll on the environment and can take any number of years to discompose.

Rather, it needs to be broken down into materials that are environmentally-friendly. The difficulty is that e-waste can contain a number of different materials within it so the process is essentially about separating these materials and disposing of them accordingly. To do this, the first step is to sort through this equipment, removing any copper materials or batteries, which are dealt with separately. Then the remaining equipment is effectively shredded, broken down into small parts that are much more manageable.

At this point, waste disposal experts need to be sure to remove traces of steel and iron and they do so with the use of magnets. Other metals such as aluminium and copper are also removed. These metals can be sold on and used in the manufacturing of other products. Some items also have glass and plastic content, which obviously need to be separated with the use of water.

At the end of the process, you have a range of raw materials that are then recycled.

What Should I Do with My E-Waste?

While the volume of e-waste is rapidly increasing, we are not yet at a point where most councils are able to process and dispose of it correctly. So if you throw it into one of your rubbish bins and have the council pick it up, chances are it will end up in a land fill, which is not ideal considering the negative effects it can have on the environment.

You do have the option of placing your e-waste out to be collected during annual council rubbish collection, however, keep in mind that you should erase all data off the equipment if it is still able to be operated. People will often take on monitors or computer parts that are left out for pickup.

Otherwise, get in touch with a waste disposal or skip bin hire company that provide e-waste recycling services. They will take care of everything including pick up, transport and sorting through the e-waste and disposing of it correctly. You can speak to the waste management expert at Metropolitan Bin Hire, a bin hire service in Melbourne today if you have any further questions.

Originally published at Metro Bin's blog.

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