Wednesday, 04 July 2018 18:03

Campaign to alert Victorians of a growing e-waste problem

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Campaign to alert Victorians of a growing e-waste problem Image courtesy of mapichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Electronic waste (e-waste) is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia – with estimates there will be 223,000 tonnes of waste mounted up by 2023-24.

According to a new report from Sustainability Victoria, Australians are big users of technology and among the largest generators of e-waste globally.

“It’s estimated the country’s e-waste will increase more than 60%, to a predicted 223,000 tonnes in 2023-24,” said the acting chief executive  of Sustainability Victoria, Jonathan Leake.

In response to the growing e-waste problem, the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, on Wednesday launched a $1.5 million public education and awareness campaign — www.ewaste.vic.gov.au — to help Victorians better understand e-waste and reduce the amount going to the state’s landfills.    

“The public education and campaign run by Sustainability Victoria, aims to highlight the value of recycling electronic material ahead of an e-waste-to-landfill ban which takes effect on 1 July 2019," Leake said

"Recycling captures valuable metals like copper, silver, gold, aluminium and other metals, as well as plastics and glass so they can be re-used in the next wave of technology rather than mining or making new materials.”

Regulatory measures that will give effect to a ban on e-waste from landfill, under the Environment Protection Act 1970, came into operation on 28 June. They include amendments to existing statutory policies to include e-waste as a material banned from landfill, and one which specifies how e-waste should be managed safely.

The ban has taken effect on 1 July, allowing those who manage e-waste in Victoria to adapt to the new regulatory measures and for Victoria’s e-waste collection network, including state government-funded sites, to be operating.

Current practices show that at least 90% of a computer, television or mobile phone can be recovered and reused.

Leake said Victoria already has many places where some types of e-waste can be taken, but there is potential to expand the range of electrical, electronic and battery-powered items recycled and the number of collection points.

Victorian councils can also apply for $15 million in grants to upgrade or build collection and storage facilities in 130 areas where need has been identified. Funding applications close on 14 September.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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