How to recycle e-waste

Did you know that electronic waste, or e-waste, is growing three times faster than other types of waste? And, the average Australian generates 23kg of it each per year!

With most tech becoming obsolete after 5 years, our consumption of electronic products is at an all-time high. But when we upgrade our phone or buy a new laptop, where do our old electronics go?

Unlike paper and bottles, electronic waste can’t be disposed of in your council recycling bin. If you have old electronics that are no longer working, here is what you need to know when disposing of them.


What is e-waste?

E-waste is anything in your home with a cord or a plug, or their related accessories which are broken or no longer needed.

  • Computers and laptops
  • Monitors
  • Keyboards
  • Printers
  • Mice
  • Hard drives
  • Cables and chargers
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Computer power supplies
  • Printed circuit boards
  • Motherboards
  • Batteries
  • Ink and toner cartridges

Why should we recycle e-waste?

  1. Protects the environment from nasty chemicals

    When e-waste, batteries and ink cartridges are disposed of, they start to break down and release toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, and arsenic into the environment. These chemicals pollute the air and soil and can even end up in local water sources. When recycled correctly, the parts that can’t be returned to the manufacturing process will be safely disposed of and won’t end up in the environment.

  2. Reduces landfill

    The most up-to-date stats show Australians generated 67 million tonnes of waste in 2016-2017 and 7000 thousands tonnes of this is made in Australia. In fact, according to the ABC program ‘The War on Waste’, over 10 years a family of 5 produces around 1.4 tonnes of e-waste! With most electronics made from fully recyclable materials like glass, plastic and precious metals, recycling your electronic items can dramatically reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfill.

  3. Minimises the consumption of raw materials to produce new electronic products

    As we already know, the components of most electronic products can be recycled and by reusing these components, it means that fewer raw materials need to be sourced from nature to create new devices and contributes to a circular economy. The circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems and the longer materials and resources are in use, the more value is extracted from them.

  4. Reduces greenhouse gases created when materials for new electronic products are produced

    By using recycled materials from phones, printers and other electronic devices, the greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and pollution created by manufacturing new materials can be reduced.


E-waste recycling tips

  • Make sure all data is erased prior to disposing of your items
  • Keep all your e-waste together so you don’t forget to recycle anything
  • Mark a date in your calendar to recycle your e-waste. We recommend once or twice a year.
  • When purchasing a new electronic item, make sure you recycle its packaging responsibly
  • You can donate or sell old electronic items that are still in good working condition.

Where can I recycle e-waste?

In 2012, we established Bring It Back, which provides customers with the opportunity to recycle computers and laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers, mice, hard drives, mobile phones and accessories, cables, chargers, DVDs and CDs at their local Officeworks store.

To see if your store has an e-waste recycling program, visit our store locator page. Our Bring it Back program has also extended to include printer cartridge recycling, battery recycling and pen recycling for households too!

To learn more about how Officeworks is committed to making a positive difference to the environment, view our Positive Difference Plans.

Together, we can make bigger things happen for the environment! And remember, don’t bin it, bring it!