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 single 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 computer and phone devices, 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 journey of e-products starts with mining, manufacturing and exporting and ends with recycling.  At every step of the journey, 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 for and cost of virgin resources continues to increase.
  • costs - Continual upgrading, replacement and purchase of e-products costs households a lot of money.

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.

Prevent

Prevent

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

Read top tips to prevent e-waste by reducing the number of e-products in your home, borrowing/hiring and sharing when you can, using e-products longer and taking actions to extend the life of them, and shopping smart.

Use these tips to prevent e-waste

  • Reduce - Count how many e-products you have at home. How much money could you save by reducing your number of household e-products?​​​​​
  • 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 each year 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 thereby reducing the need for storage devices
    • buying less ('less is more' philosophy). If you need to buy new, choose high quality, versatile products over cheap products. By buying second-hand you can often find a high quality product at low quality product 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 applications. They might have a higher upfront purchase price, but their operating costs are often 9-25% lower than conventional models. 
    • checking certification labels. Look for environmental standards labels:
Reuse

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

Read top tips to reuse e-waste by reusing, rehoming, trading and buying and selling working e-products. You can also donate them, or repair them.

Use these top tips to reuse e-products

Working e-products

  • Reuse your old mobile phone for playing music and/or navigation.
  • Rehome e-products you no longer need to family and friends.
  • Buy working e-products:
  • Sell working e-products:
  • Trade in your Apple device for credit towards a future purchase.
  • Donate e-products online via Freecycle, Buy Nothing, or Facebook Marketplace. Alternatively, donate them to a local op shop if they accept electrical items.

E-products needing repair

Recycle

Recycle at a recycling drop-off point or collection service

When you can no longer use or repair an e-product, it becomes e-waste. To prevent e-waste ending up in landfill, drop-off your items for recycling to a drop-off point or collection service.

Don't put e-waste in your general waste bin!

E-waste, including household batteries, can cause fires in collection trucks at Council's resource recovery centres. 

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 item Recycling drop-off points and collection services
Batteries
Large appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, ovens)
Lighting (lamps, globes)
Mobile phones (including chargers, accessories, smart watches)
  • Council's resource recovery centres 
  • EcoActiv collection service 
  • eWaste program collection service
  • MobileMuster drop-off points.
    Note - From 1 July 2022, MobileMuster will also accept modems, routers, landline phones, smart home technology (smart speakers and digital hub displays), wearables and peripherals (smart watches, tracking tags, virtual reality (VR) headsets.
  • Post the e-waste item for free by picking up a reply paid satchel at participating AusPost stores or directly through MobileMuster.
  • Woolworths stores
Small household appliances (toasters, kettles, microwaves, cameras, vacuum cleaners, headphones, power tools)
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 the MobileMuster website for tips on deleting data from mobile phones and the TechCollect website 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 approximately 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.

Targets

In Queensland by 20501:

  • there will be a 25 per cent reduction in household waste
  • 90 per cent of waste will be recovered from going to landfill
  • there will be a 75 per cent recycling rate across all waste types.

By 2030,

  • total waste generated in Australia will be reduced by 10% per person
  • waste generation will be substantially reduced globally through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

More information


1. Queensland Government, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy

Last updated: 29 June 2022
Topics: waste

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