Updated April 18, 2008 to include more.
Most of us are familiar with the weekly roadside recycling ritual of placing newspapers, glass bottles and plastics out for collection by the local council. However, when it comes to recycling bigger ticket items, like old computers and TVs, the process is not nearly as simple -- that's if you live in Sydney anyway.
In an independent survey undertaken by CNET.com.au, we found that an overwhelming majority of councils in the Sydney metropolitan region fail to provide any direct e-waste recycling services for their residents.
In fact, of the 37 councils located in Sydney, CNET.com.au could only find eight councils that provide e-waste recycling services. Four councils -- Ashfield, Mosman, North Sydney and Strathfield -- provide roadside recycling through their general clean-up services. Another four councils -- Willoughby, Waverly, Lane Cove and Mosman -- hold annual e-waste recycling days. E-waste recycling days enable residents to bring their e-waste to a central collection point for recycling by the council.
The downside to the e-waste days is that they usually only happen once a year, which beggars the question of what happens to residential e-waste on the other 364 days.
Almost two-thirds of the councils surveyed did however provide information on third-party e-waste recycling services. The most referred to service was Technical AID to the Disabled, which refurbishes donated computers and loans them out to people with disabilities throughout New South Wales. Other recommended services included Work Ventures Ltd, MRI and Sims E-Recycling, which has four primary e-waste processing facilities in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane supported by a network of 130 operations in all states and territories.
Several third-party recycling services also involve a charge or fee. Dell, for example, charges a fee of AU$36.00 with an additional surcharge of AU$15.50 for collection outside metropolitan areas.
According to the United Nations (UN), electronic and electrical waste is among the fastest-growing types of trash in the world. StEP, which is a special initiative set up by the UN to look at the e-waste problem, estimates that e-waste will soon reach 40 million tonnes a year or enough to fill a line of dump trucks stretching half way round the world.
Closer to home, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that e-waste is growing at more than three times the rate of general municipal waste. In 2006, around 1.6 million computers were disposed into landfill. According to Willoughby City Council, only four percent of e-waste is recycled in Australia.
At the opposite end of the scale, Japan is leading the way when it comes to recycling e-waste with stringent regulatory measures. A shortage of available landfill sites has spurred the Japanese government to enact the Law for Recycling of Specified Home Appliances. The law covers televisions, refrigerators and freezers, washing machines and air conditioners, which account for 80 percent by weight of the country's electronic equipment waste.
CNET.com.au will continue to compile resources for tackling e-waste in Australia to add to our directory on the following page. Do you know of a service we've missed? Please send the details to email@example.com.
CNET.com.au will continue to compile resources for tackling e-waste in Australia to add to this directory. Do you know of a service we've missed? Please send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web site: Computer Bank NSW
Phone: (02) 4951 4948
Web site: Computer for Schools Project
Phone: 0428 250 392
Web site: Dell
Phone: 1800 465 890
Web site: HP
Phone: 13 13 47
- Fax machines
- Personal computers
- Handheld devices
- Associated external components such as cable, mouse and keyboards
Web site: IT Liquidators
Phone: 0433 477 886
Web site: MobileMuster
Phone: (02) 8920 3555
Web site: MRI
Phone: 1300 85 85 50
Web site: Recyclenearyou
Phone: 1300 733 712
Web site: Salvation Army
Phone: 13 72 58
Web site: Sims Recycling Solutions
Phone: (02) 9956 9100
Web site: Technical AID to the Disabled
Phone: (02) 9808 2022
Web site: Wesley Uniting Employment
Phone: 02 8892 2880
Web site: Work Ventures Group
Phone: 1800 112 205