How to properly dispose of e-waste such as old TVs with leaded glass

What is electronic waste (e-waste)

Electronic waste, commonly known as E-waste, is anything electrical or battery-operated. E-waste should not be disposed of in your rubbish or recycling bin or sent to landfill. Continue reading to find out why. 

Why to recycle

Electronic items contain non-renewable resources such as tin, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper and small amounts of precious metals. They also contain hazardous materials including lead, mercury, and cadmium. Sending these products to landfill means the resources they contain are lost and there is potential for hazardous substances to be released into the environment. This is why it’s important never to put your unwanted, dysfunctional or dead electronics into your general waste bin!

Cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions

Did you know that items such as your old televisions can contain up to 1.36 kilogram of lead? This amount is enough to contaminate 683 Tonnes of general waste. Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions 1996 (as amended 2018) in Western Australia dictate that only two (2) grams of lead per kilogram of waste can be buried in our landfills.

Last year we recovered 17,138 kg of lead from 48,068 televisions.  

Leaded glass is also costly to reprocess with treatment and logistics charge significantly outweighing the material value.

Toxic materials and landfill

As e-waste is still permitted to be disposed of into our WA landfills it’s of utmost importance to dispose of your electronics properly. When disposed of incorrectly it can leach a toxic cocktail of chemicals into our water system, into the oceans and potentially into the water you drink and the fruit and vegetables that you and your children eat.

In some Australian states (SA, VIC) e-waste is a ‘prescribed industrial waste’ already banned from most landfills. Because of that, leaded glass must be transported to the only facility in Australia that can process it (the Nyrstar lead smelter in Port Pirie). We are one of the few facilities in WA (if not the only one) that has been sending our lead to Port Pirie for many years.

Although most people consider big old CRT televisions obsolete, believe us, they are still around. Last year we recovered 17,138 kg of lead from 48,068 televisions.  

If you have any old electronics taking up space find your nearest drop-of point now. Most items such as PCs, televisions, laptops, printers etc. can be recycled free of charge! 

Please let us know any questions in the comment section below. 

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