Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
With Christmas only a matter of days away and the prospect of many homes and offices gaining new computers, TVs and other electronic appliances, Technology Industry Association (TIA) CEO, Steve Adcock reminds consumers to dispose of no longer needed appliances responsibly.

“Many businesses and families simply aren’t aware of how or where to dispose of no longer needed electronic appliances and at this time of year its important to dispose of electronics appliances responsibly,” stated Mr Adcock.“

“There are a range of authorities such as your local council or State Government Departments such as Zero Waste who with disposal tips. There are also private companies that specialise in electronics waste recycling, it is just a matter of taking the first step and contacting someone,” added Mr Adcock.

The TIA spoke to Michelle Morton from E-Cycle Recovery; one of South Australia’s larger electronics recyclers of TV’s, computers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, phones, stereos, VCR’s and DVD players, to gain an idea of the nature of this problem.

“Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste in Australia. Unfortunately for decades electronic items have traditionally been sent to landfill. In 2007-2008, 16.8 million TV’s and computers alone were discarded in Australia, with 84% of these sent to landfill,“ stated Ms Morton.

Ms Morton added, “There are many reasons why this practice is undesirable. E-waste contains valuable and rare materials such as gold and copper which can be recovered and reused. By sending these products straight to landfill the resources they contain can never be recovered. E-waste also contains a range of hazardous materials that can be potentially damaging to the environment if not disposed of correctly.”

“Many SA local councils have taken the environmentally responsible step of eliminating e-waste items from hard rubbish collections ensuring that that they do not end up in landfill. Additionally the State Government through the South Australian Environment Protection Authority’s new Environmental Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010 has introduced legislation that will see TVs and computers banned from being dumped in landfill from September 1st 2012,” stated Ms Morton.

The TIA also investigated what the State Government is doing about the issue of recycling e-waste and contacted the Zero waste authority. Recycling e-waste is a priority issue for Zero Waste SA, a government agency which works with all sectors of the South Australian community to encourage new practices that promote reuse, recycling and waste avoidance.

On the horizon is a ban on sending e-waste to landfill in South Australia, the Australian Government’s digital switchover which started in regional South Australia on 15 December 2010, and a national television and computer recycling scheme where manufacturers and importers will be responsible for recycling all products sold in Australia.

I was encouraged to learn that free TV take-back sites have been organised in regional South Australia and Broken Hill to help residents prepare for the digital switch-over in a convenient and safe way.

The Australian and state governments have also funded collection centres in 30 local councils from 20 December 2010 to 20 February 2011. Zero Waste SA is working closely with the Local Government Association of South Australia to organise the drop-off points for local communities at these sites.

As a transitional measure until the national scheme is in place, Zero Waste SA is co-funding e-waste collections with local government.

“Householders are right behind these collections, and are genuinely pleased to be able to recycle their unwanted electronic items responsibly,” Zero Waste SA acting Chief Executive Ian Harvey said.

“For example, a weekend collection for electronic waste held last September was an outstanding success, confirming that South Australian’s are great recyclers.

“515 tonnes of unwanted, computers, televisions and mobile phones were diverted from landfill and nearly 10,000 vehicles lined up to drop-off e-waste at seven depots.

“This event was a joint initiative of Zero Waste SA, the Local Government Association and metropolitan councils. Apple Pty Ltd also played a key role by providing recycling services for the dismantled equipment.”

In addition, Zero Waste SA has given grants to 30 councils to support householder e-waste collections. In 2009-10 more than 10,000 South Australians used these collections to recycle 6,300 televisions and 7,300 computer monitors and computers.

In anticipation of the proposed national scheme Zero Waste SA is ahead of the action: it proposes that South Australia’s unique network of some 115 container deposit depots could provide the infrastructure to collect e-waste.

On a much smaller but no less important scale two TIA member companies are doing their bit to help consumers dispose of no longer needed computers in a responsible way.

Aspitech located at 1393 Main South Road, Bedford Park, recycles no longer needed computers and transforms them into low cost models for low income earners. They also specialise in increasing the life-cycle of older computers and can be contacted on 08 8464 0766 (messages any-time). Aspitech do charge for recycling and the fee involved will depend on the number and range of computers to be recycled.

Laptop World located at 36 Glynburn Road, Hectorville also offer a recycling service for no longer needed laptops. There is no charge for this service and they also repair and upgrade laptops. An important service that both Aspitech and Laptop World offer is data removal in a totally confidential manner.

Contact Profile

Technology Industry Association

The Technology Industry Association (TIA) is the peak body in South Australia representing the $7.5 billion technology industry. TIA is a non-profit, member based organisation that delivers tailored networking events, professional development courses, business advice and lobbying opportunities.

Facilitating the technology industry to thrive both domestically and internationally is of prime concern to TIA. The activities of this industry have a flow on impact to the economic prosperity of South Australia in terms of employment, future growth and social well being. In this sense TIA serves not only the technology industry but also the wider community who benefit from having a home grown flourishing high tech industry.

Steve Adcock, CEO, TIA
P: 0882725222
M: 0417725995
W: www.tia.asn.au


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