Australians are among the highest users of new technology in the world and purchase over 2.4 million computers every year. This makes electronic waste or e-waste, including computers and accessories, a growing problem. Computers are ideal for recycling due to their large volumes, the inclusion of hazardous materials, and good resource recovery potential for non-renewable resources like tin, nickel, zinc and copper.
Under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, companies that make and/or import more than a threshold amount of televisions and computers into Australia are required to pay for the end of life recycling of these products. There are four organisations that recycle computers and accessories under the scheme: TechCollect, Drop Zone, E-Cycle Solutions and Electronic Products Stewardship Australasia.
How to recycle Computers at work
There are some recycling companies that offer national collection services for commercial quantities of computers. To find a commercial computer recycling service for your workplace or business, visit BusinessRecycling.com.au
Why recycle Computers?
Every year Australians purchase millions of computers and related components to replace equipment superseded by faster and more powerful technologies. In 2007/08 an estimated 16.8 million computers and televisions reached the end of their useful life in Australia. This figure is predicted to reach 44 million units by 2027/28.
- Computers contain other hazardous materials that need to be disposed of responsibly.
- Older style monitors contain cathode ray tubes (CRT) which contain lead.
- When disposed to landfill, the materials and chemical components used to make computer equipment such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic can leach into the soil and groundwater, causing harm to our environment and human populations.
What happens when Computers are recycled?
Computers and accessories that are in working order can often be refurbished with new software and some replacement parts. These repackaged computers are generally made available to low-income communities, individuals and community organisations. Electronic waste that is collected for recycling generally undergoes a manual dismantling process. The individual materials such as printed circuit boards, cabling, glass and plastics are recovered and then processed so that they can be used as raw materials to produce new products.