Electrical appliances such as DVD players, facsimile machines, phones, alarm clocks, cameras and radios become electronic waste or e-waste when discarded, which is a growing problem worldwide.
At this stage, Australia does not have a national recycling scheme for electrical appliances as a whole. The existing scheme covers TVs and computers while specific programs exists for mobile phones and printer cartridges.
How to recycle Electrical Appliances at work
There are some recycling companies that offer national collection services for commercial quantities of electrical appliances. To find a commercial electrical appliance recycling service for your workplace or business, visit BusinessRecycling.com.au.
Why recycle Electrical Appliances?
Electrical appliances are made up of a broad range of materials including precious metals (such as gold and platinum), toxic heavy metals, metal circuitry, mixed plastics, fire retardants and glass. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic as well as flame-retardants can cause environmental contamination through leaching from e-waste in landfill into water systems. By recycling, this contamination can be avoided and useful resources can be conserved, as up to 95% of materials can be recovered for reuse.
Some states such as the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Victoria have banned electronic products from landfill.
Recycling options for Electrical Appliances
Some companies operate take-back schemes for their electrical products. The costs of these systems are generally built into the price of the product and provide a convenient avenue for electrical appliance recycling.
There are a number of commercial recyclers that offer e-waste recycling services as well as organisations that recycle, refurbish or reuse electrical appliances and accessories.
There are also a number of recycling and safe disposal programs accepting batteries of all types. Please visit the battery category for more information.
What happens when Electrical Appliances are recycled?
Electrical appliances are dismantled and the different components are sorted. Many of the materials, including glass, copper, plastics, metals and precious metals, are recovered for further processing and eventual use in the manufacture of new products.