As of 1 July 2019, e-waste is no longer accepted in any bin or landfill site across Victoria. Instead, it must be taken to dedicated e-waste drop-off points where it will be collected for resource recovery.

What is E-Waste?

Any item that has a plug, battery or cord and is unwanted is e-waste. It could be any of a whole range of items from work, home or even the garden shed. From old phones, computers and household appliances to power tools and toys.

Why recover it?

Electronic waste is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste. When you consider what is inside e-waste and that it can be recovered and made into something else, it makes no sense to bury electronic objects in the ground once we are finished with them.

It contains materials that we can recover and reuse.

E-waste contains a whole range of valuable non-renewable materials such as tin, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper, silver and gold. Although only very small amounts of each of these precious metals go into making any one device, when they are collected in large numbers the amounts can quickly add up.

For example, a million mobile phones contain an estimated 15–16 tonnes of copper, 340–350 kilograms of silver and 24–34 kilograms of gold. When you consider there are more than 22 million discarded mobile handsets in Australia and growing, we’re throwing away a lot of precious resources.

Furthermore, throwing e-waste into landfill is having real consequences on the availability of core materials used in electronic devices. Without change to the way we dispose of e-waste, it is estimated that lead, silver and zinc will become extremely scarce as soon as 2030.

It contains potentially hazardous materials

Many forms of e-waste contain heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium as well as ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) and flame retardants. Even in small amounts, these dangerous chemicals can cause environmental contamination.

But when you multiply it by the millions of e-waste items being left in landfills, the situation becomes much more serious.

Where do I take it?

To find out more about e-waste and where to take it, visit your Council website or go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/e-waste