REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT.

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By Brent Bryce

Did you know that the volume of electronic waste generated worldwide each year is roughly 54 million metric tons? Many contributing factors have increased e-waste in recent decades, making it one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide.  

Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue, with projections suggesting that by 2030, annual e-waste generation worldwide will have increased by an additional 30 percent and over 74 million tons. Australia is amongst one of the highest contributors in both use and e-waste.

To put this into perspective, there are approximately 20.6m devices being used in Australia alone, compared to 18.6m in 2017. This is an increase of over 2m in the past 2 years and excludes the number of devices that are not in use.

The main factors contributing to this accelerated tech take up, is the increased competition, reduced cost and affordability in consumer electronics, resulting in Australia becoming known as the ‘disposable’ or ‘throw away’ society.  This is compounded by the fact that the average lifecycle of most tech devices like mobile phones and tablets are only 2-3years.

Why is e-waste not good for our environment? Simply put, it contains chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. If electronics are mishandled during disposal, these harmful chemicals may end up in our soil, water, and air.

What is even more alarming is that electronic waste has been illegally exported overseas to countries which don’t have laws on handling and disposing of it safely.

The positive and most encouraging news, is that a lot is being done around the education of e-waste and the impact it has on our environment.  More importantly, the younger generation appear to be more aware and considerate about the decisions they make and how they contribute to impacting the environment, more so than the elder generations.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to consider your decisions both at home and/or at the office to reduce and improve e-waste as much as possible. You can do this by encouraging others and contributing towards a more sustainable and healthier environment, for the future and our community.

We are fortunate to reside in the inner west of Melbourne that is just as passionate about the environment and sustainable living as I am. There a number of local initiatives and programs to empower us all to become more conscious about the decisions we make. This will build a healthier environment for current and future generations.

Remember that you should not simply throw your e-waste into landfill. Local Council’s have made electrical drop off hubs available for this purpose. Contact your local council or visit their website to understand how and where you can drop off or dispose of your e-waste.

Whether you’re a business or resident, we all play a part in protecting our environment, and you can do your bit now to repair, reuse and recycle technology.  Don’t leave it up to the next generation.

(Boxed- if can fit) Simple Tips to being more sustainable reducing e-waste:

  • Repair, Reuse & Recycle FIRST policy for all Technology.
  • Consider old & unused devices to be recycled and possibly offered to staff, family or friends.
  • Collect all devices that cannot be reused, and disposed of at your local e-waste centre or collection providers.

 

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