Ban on E-Waste From Victoria's Landfill

Australia has been facing a number of changes and challenges with managing our recycling over the last year. In January 2018 China stopped accepting Australia’s recycling due to high contamination of the materials. This change has seen Australian sorting facilities stock-pile recycling and source alternative buyers and users for the recyclable materials. Another change is about to hit our waste and recycling landscape. The State Government recently announced that from 1 July 2019, Victorian residents will be banned from disposing electronic goods, also known as e-waste, to landfill.

According to Regulation 5 of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017, e-waste includes “rechargeable batteries, cathode ray tube monitors and televisions, flat panel monitors and televisions, information technology and telecommunications equipment, lighting and photovoltaic panels." In short, this includes computers, computer accessories, televisions, mobile phones, light bulbs, ink cartridges and other products of the like. Currently e-waste is often disposed of by being taken to the tip or left on the nature strip for hard rubbish collection.

The problem with e-waste being disposed like this and ultimately ending up in landfill, is that generally these products are made with toxic metals like lead and mercury that can eventually seep into the environment. In Victoria alone the ABC reported projections that e-waste will increase from 109,000 tonnes in 2015, to 250,000 tonnes in 2035, making new e-waste regulations vital for the protection of our environment.

With new regulations, residents will have to take their e-waste to one of the 121 new or upgraded e-waste collection sites within Victoria, with most sites at council-operated facilities. Here, electronics will be stripped and sorted for recyclable components.

Currently some e-waste recycling initiatives do already exists in our area of

Glenferrie Hawthorn. Swinburne University and the Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre both have MobileMuster drop-off points (Photo: HALC staff member Tayla dropping off mobile phone). MobileMuster is a mobile phone recycling project that accepts old or broken mobile phones. The phones are collected and disassembled into components, then processed separately to maximise resource recovery. Any organisation can become a mobile phone recycling collection point, just contact MobileMuster to have a free drop-off box placed in your office or business.

Smaller e-waste items such as batteries can be dropped off at Bunnings (photo) and Aldi in-store battery collection points. Ikea also collects batteries and light bulbs. Australian Post outlets, including our local post office at 782 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, have ink cartridge recycling boxes.

To dispose of large e-waste items you can head to the Boroondara Recycling and Waste Centre, 648 Riversdale Road, Camberwell, only about 4km from Glenferrie Hawthorn, where it is free to drop off recyclables and e-waste. In June the City of Boroondara will announce the location of six e-waste collection banks across Boroondara. Visit www.theglenferrietimes.com or www.boroondara.vic.gov.au for updates on e-waste.

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