Australia stuck in e-waste dark ages

E-waste is contaminating our soil and waterways three times faster than general waste. But industry, government and consumers aren't doing enough to combat the problem

By the end of this year, Hewlett-Packard claims it will have recycled nearly half a billion kilograms of IT equipment worldwide, while IBM offers a global initiative allowing companies to recycle old equipment, as well as a local recycling initiative

.

But according to Dell's communications manager, Paul McKeon, Dell is the only computer manufacturer or retailer in Australia to offer free pickup and recycling for any of their old PCs, as well as being the only vendor to offer a local paid recycling service for consumers.

"Around this time last year the ABS came out with an estimate that said around 3 million PCs (including notebooks and desktops) are bought in Australia each year," McKeon said.

He said that around 500,000 of those get recycled, some 1.8 million are sent to landfill, and the remainder end up in storage.

"If you look at what Dell recycled last year through our programs, we recycled around 300 tonnes of PCs last year, and even that is a very small proportion of all the PCs that were bought last year," McKeon said.

Dell has hosted six free community recycling days in Australia and New Zealand since 2005. HP, Apple, and Acer have each held their own one-off recycling days.

But Castle says the TEC's patience is running out, and believes these kinds of events detract attention from the more important step of achieving government intervention.

"Piecemeal take-back events are no disguise for back-room lobbying by industry to stop mandatory recycling," she said.

In Victoria, HP and Sustainability Victoria along with the Australian Information Industry Association(AIIA), launched the Byteback scheme in 2005 to boost recycling of used computing equipment, and have since brought nine other leading vendors on board.

"It has currently expanded to three recycling centres and there are plans to expand it again next year," Dell's McKeon said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Hendry

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?