e waste

Reports that a defunct computer screen dropped at Officeworks for recycling was shipped to a junkyard in Thailand have renewed calls for Australia to get serious about e-waste controls.

E-waste watchdog Basel Action Network (BAN) last week reported they had used GPS trackers to trace the journey of the electronic equipment to a recently operating “dioxin factory” in a rural area surrounded by crops such as rice and mangoes.

According to BAN, “e-waste was first broken apart and then the removed circuit boards were processed en masse with crude chemical and smelting techniques in an effort to extract the gold and copper”.


electronic waste

E-waste is piled high at a dump site in Samut Prakan province, south of Bangkok. Photograph: Florian Witulski​/The Guardian

At a deserted factory outside Bangkok, skyscrapers made from vast blocks of crushed printers, Xbox components and TVs tower over black rivers of smashed-up computer screens.

This is a tiny fraction of the estimated 50m tonnes of electronic waste created just in the EU every year, a tide of toxic rubbish that is flooding into south-east Asia from the EU, US and Japan.


e waste in AU

The first time Dr Pablo Dias set foot in an Australian recycling facility to see how the nation’s e-waste was processed he was struck by disappointment.

Until that moment the now 31-year-old had romanticised Australia. As a young engineering student in Brazil he had been working to develop methods to safely recycle old photovoltaic (PV) solar cells but when he tried to take it outside the lab, he found himself hamstrung.

“There was no advanced processing in Brazil,” Dias says. “It was only low-end processing, manual separation, shredding – the stuff you do with very little infrastructure or investment.


lots of AU e waste

The majority of electronic waste (e-waste) produced in Australia is not recycled, a figure that needs to change, according Dan Pritchard, CEO of IT asset lifecycle management provider Greenbox.

Figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that Australians are among the highest users of technology and e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste.

As of 2008, 17 million televisions and 37 million computers had been sent to landfill, according to ABS research. Indeed, of the 15.7 million computers that reached their ‘end of life’ in Australia in 2007-08, only 1.5 million were recycled — less than 10 per cent, ABS records show.


Why Choose IT Collect?

We are an electronic waste (e-waste) collection service that specialises in collecting and securely disposing of your e-waste items in a secure and environmentally responsible manner.

  • No job to big or small.
  • We come to you and do all the heavy lifting.
  • We do it for you –if it's heavy, dirty – cobwebs or dust, difficult location - upstairs or downstairs no problem!
  • Chain of custody procedures in place.
  • 95%+ of components are recycled.
  • Components containing data eg. hard drives are shredded and components recycled.
  • Certificate of Destruction provided.