E-waste – what’s being done about it

people around desk with laptops open

E-waste is any item with a plug, battery or power cord that’s no longer working or wanted. It covers a whole range of items from phones and refrigerators to fluorescent light tubes and is growing faster than any other waste stream. E-waste can cause serious environmental problems due to toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury and arsenic that pollute our soil and water and disrupt our ecosystems and our health and don’t belong in landfill. 

Standards Australia has published the revised edition of AS 5377:2022 Management of electrical and electronic equipment for re-use or recycling which sets out principles and minimum requirements for the safe and environmentally sound collection and storage, preparation for re-use, treatment, and transport of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

Operations involved in the collection,  storage, transport and treatment of electrical and electronic equipment need to understand  all  requirements in the standard including using recyclable materials for packing during the transport chain and take all reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that these products are managed in a manner that will protect human health and the environment. Find out what you can do to help reduce this problem and find a recycler near you.

Unlike existing battery recycling services, B-cycle is a stewardship initiative that provides robust accreditation for everyone in the battery value chain, including battery brands, retailers, drop off points and the whole recycling network. Clear accreditation helps consumers choose participating brands. Together with recycling rebates, this rewards industry for doing the right thing, find out more here.

Consumers’ Federation of Australia is engaged with these challenges by supporting a representative to participate in the Standards Australia Technical Committee EV-019 E-waste which revised the standard AS 5377. Find put more about the CFA Standards Project and how to get involved.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to our monthly newsletter and stay up to date on the latest consumer policy news.