E-waste in Brisbane

Electronic devices or e-products fill our daily lives and homes at an unprecedented scale. The average Australian household has approximately 17 electronic devices in the home. When these products stop working or are no longer needed, they become e-waste. E-waste is the fastest growing type of waste globally.

Use this page to find out how you can prevent, reuse and recycle e-waste in Brisbane.

'E-products': defined

E-products are electronic or electrical products and devices that use a battery, power cord, or both. E-products include computers and phones, small and large household appliances, and anything else that needs electricity to work.

'E-waste': defined

E-waste is any item that has either a battery, power cord, or both, that you no longer need.

Impacts of e-waste

E-waste has a variety of impacts including:

  • Environmental impacts - The life of e-products starts with mining, manufacturing and exporting and ends with recycling. At every step of the process, greenhouse gases are emitted. E-products also contain potentially hazardous materials, including lead and mercury, which are a risk to human health and the environment if not managed correctly.
  • Loss of resources - Many e-products contain precious metals such as gold, copper and platinum. When these resources end up in landfill they are lost and the demand and cost of virgin resources continues to increase.
  • Costs - Continual upgrading, replacement and purchase of e-products costs households a lot of money.
  • Landfill – Around 3,500 tonnes of e-waste is still placed in household general waste (red-lid) bins (2022-23). Last year, household batteries made up 150 tonnes. Batteries pose a safety risk as they can spark and start a fire and should never go into a household bin. 

How can you reduce e-waste at home?

The top priority is to prevent e-waste in the first place, followed by extending the life of e-products and recycling e-waste when it's no longer usable.


Reduce, borrow/hire/share, use e-products longer, shop smart

Use these tips to prevent e-waste

  • Reduce – How many e-products do you have at home? How much money could your household save by not buying a new device or upgrading a phone?
  • Borrow, hire or share e-products.
    • Visit the Brisbane Tool Library to borrow power tools and other equipment instead of buying new.
    • Rent or hire e-products such as televisions, computers and washing machines instead of buying new.
    • Check if you can borrow gadgets, tools, or other equipment from family, friends or neighbours before buying new products.
  • Use e-products longer. Reduce the number of devices ending up as e-waste too soon by decreasing your need for new devices. Resist upgrading by considering alternatives such as getting a pre-paid sim when your phone plan ends. This simple option can extend the life of your phone and save you money on a new phone plan.
  • Extend the life of e-products by:
    • shutting down your devices
    • unplugging chargers once devices are charged
    • turning off appliances at the wall when they are not in use
    • storing products in accordance with instructions
    • protecting devices in transit
    • servicing and cleaning products regularly.
  • Shop smart by:
    • Using the Cloud for storing data, reducing the need for storage devices[CB1][MA2] . Remember that storing data still has environmental impacts so consider what you’re storing and if you really need it.
    • Buying less ('less is more' philosophy). If you need to buy new, choose high quality, versatile products over cheap options that won't last long. By buying second-hand, you can often find high quality products at lower prices.
    • Buying Australian made. Where possible support Australian-made e-products to limit greenhouse gas emissions from imported products. Australian-made products will have more local service and repair outlets.
    • Buying energy-efficient appliances. They might have a higher upfront purchase price, but their operating costs are often 9-25% lower than conventional models. 
    • Check an item’s repairability before purchase. Some products are very expensive to repair while others have been designed to make repairs cheaper.
  • Checking certification labels. Look for environmental standards labels:
    • EPEAT eco-label managed by Global Electronics Council
    • TCO Certified for information technology e-products
    • Energy Rating - readily identifiable label on most whitegoods and household electrical appliances
    • Check CHOICE, a non-profit organisation that supports Australian consumers to buy smarter.

Reuse, rehome, trade, buy, sell, donate, repair

Use these top tips to reuse e-products

Working e-products

E-products needing repair

  • Contact the manufacturer or the purchase store to obtain advice on repair.
  • Learn to fix e-products at iFixit.
  • Visit a repair cafe for minor repairs and advice.
  • Visit a computer or mobile phone repairer at your local shopping centre. 

Recycle at a recycling drop-off point or with a collection service

Never place batteries or electronic products in bin!

All batteries and electronic products can cause fires in collection trucks, at Council's resource recovery centres and at recycling facilities. They are environmental health hazards and can cause significant damage to waste infrastructure.

If battery terminals touch, they can spark and create a fire hazard. Ensure that you tape the terminals of used batteries with clear sticky tape before taking them to a drop off point.

Find a recycling drop off-point or collection service

This table includes information on e-waste items and associated recycling drop-off points and collection services.
E-waste itemRecycling drop-off points and collection services
Large appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, ovens)
Lighting (lamps, globes)
Mobile phones (including chargers, accessories, smart watches)
  • MobileMuster drop-off points at Council's resource recovery centres, Council libraries, Woolworths, Officeworks, Optus, Vodafone and Telstra stores and more. MobileMuster also accepts modems, routers, landline phones, smart speakers and digital hub displays, wearables and smart watches, tracking tags, and virtual reality headsets. You can also post the e-waste item for free by picking up a reply-paid satchel at participating AusPost stores or directly through MobileMuster.
  • EcoActiv collection service 
  • eWaste program collection service
  • RecycleSmart household collections
Printer cartridges

Small household appliances (toasters, kettles, microwaves, cameras, vacuum cleaners, headphones, power tools, smoke alarms*)

* Smoke alarms are only accepted for recycling at eWaste Connection​​​​

Solar photovoltaic panels and battery storages
Televisions and computers (including desktop computers, laptops, monitors, printers, hard drives, keyboards)
Wipe personal data

Wipe personal data from your devices before rehoming, donating, selling or dropping them off for recycling. Visit MobileMuster for tips on deleting data from mobile phones and TechCollect for computers and other devices.

Temperature-exchange equipment (fridges, freezers, air conditioning units)

E-waste facts

  • In Australia, each person generates approximately 20 kilograms of e-waste each year. As a result, Australians have become the fourth highest generators of e-waste per capita.
  • The average Australian household has around 17 electronic devices in the home, yet only 23 per cent of us recycle them.
  • Just over half of all e-waste is collected in Australia, with 80% of this going to low-efficiency recycling. This means that valuable resources (such as lithium and cobalt) in e-waste are not reused.
  • In 2019, an estimated nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were associated with manufacturing and importing products purchased in Australia.

More information

Last updated:
Topics: waste

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