5 ways to reduce your e-waste
Ever wondered what to do with your electronic devices once you’re done with them? It feels kinda wrong putting them in the bin, right?
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste, or e-waste can be any household, or office electronics and electrical items that are no longer working or wanted like:
Why is e-waste so bad?
Every year, the world throws away around 44.7 million tonnes of tech trash (PDF | 11 MB) . E-waste is responsible for 70% of all toxic chemicals found in landfill . Most e-waste only contains a very small amount of dangerous substances but when it’s dumped in large quantities, that’s when trouble begins- causing significant environmental damage or harm to human health.
There are also valuable materials contained in e-waste that are lost when electrical goods are sent to landfill.
So here are five ways to help reduce your impact.
How can I reduce my e-waste?
1. Buy less
Save your wallet and the planet!
Before you spend your hard-earned dollars on a new electronic device, or item, look within and think: Do I really need this? Will I get my money’s worth? Am I going through just another phase? Aussies replace their smart phones every 18–24 months.
If you really want to try a gadget, maybe you’ve got a mate who’ll happily lend you theirs. Or, rent one out for a day or two. Or, just sleep on it!
Hot Tip: If you need power tools to fix things around the home, google ‘Tool library near me’ for a much cheaper and sustainable way of getting things done.
2. Buy second hand, or go refurbished
If you really need to buy electronics (and let’s be honest, sometimes we really need to), consider a little thrift-shopping! Even Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and your local Cash Converters might be holding exactly what you’re looking for.
Or, if it’s time for a phone upgrade, take a look at refurbished phones in the Second Life Shop . All Second Life phones get the VIP treatment, with professional refurbishment, including a 30+ point test from Kingfisher. Which means all Second Life phones are fully functional with a minimum of 80% battery health.
On the flipside, if you’re done with your items, give it away or sell them to others who’ll find a use for them. Not only does this extend their life, it could earn you a bit of extra cash in the process *Ka-ching!
3. Look after what you've got
Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, the life span of devices is getting shorter — many products will be tossed away once their batteries die, to be replaced with shiny new devices.
A bit of TLC can help give your products the long life they deserve. Like being aware of their capabilities- is it waterproof, shockproof, even kidproof? Get yourself a sturdy case, a glass protector, or a stand. Even device maintenance- like remembering to turn your devices off once in a while, or, knowing the life of the device Vs the life of the battery.
4. Repair what you can
If your electronics aren’t performing at their best anymore, you can try repairing them. Look online for DIY tutorials or take the item to a repair shop. Imagine what you could do by learning to fix your electronics at home!
Understanding the hardware of your device can be super handy. Prior to any repairs or replacements, be sure to check with the product’s manufacturer and HSE guidelines before putting on your safety googles and high vis (as it could cancel the warranty).
If all electrical and electronic devices were responsibly recycled, we could be saving millions of tonnes of materials being wasted in landfill. This means that those products could be reused or repurposed and we wouldn’t need to extract more raw material for the manufacturing of new products. So when your electronics are ready to retire you need to make sure you’re recycling them properly.
The consensus: do not dump your e-waste in your general or household recyclable rubbish bins!
Where can I recycle my pre-loved electronics?
Got an old Belong modem, or a pre-loved mobile that’s gathering dust? We can help take that unwanted tech off your hands – recycle it with us for free .
Here’s some more handy places to recycle your electronics:
Recycle Scheme (by the Australian Government)
Electronics Product Stewardship Australasia
Now you’ve got some information to help you reduce your e-waste, it’s time to go through your old electronics that were waiting for bin day and make a plan to give them a new lease on life!