The right thing to do: Recycling electronics

Electronic devises such this harm the environment when they degrade in the landfill 16000646 800514092 0 0 14091719 300

Electronic devices are now an integral part of everyday life. Despite high electricity prices we still use them and rely on them, though we do make efforts to make them more efficient and sustainable.

One of the tricky things about electronic devices, however, is that you can't always just throw them away without fuss. Many of these devices are extremely toxic to the environment once they start to degrade somewhere like in a landfill.

Toxic materials such as lead, mercury and acid can leak into the soil, contaminate groundwater and wind its way into our food chain. Australians generate over 140,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, and their material makes up 70 per cent of the toxicity in landfills.

One of the solutions for this phenomenon is for groups like councils, the community, manufacturers and more to step in and create recycling programs that prevent environmental harm from coming from these unwanted or broken goods.

The City of Sydney is one such collective implementing an e-waste recycling program, which now happens every quarter.

In September, 28 flat screen televisions were offered up for e-recycling, a significant improvement on the 15 collected in June.

"It’s now easier for people to upgrade their electronics more often, so these recycling programs are even more important. People are not just emptying out cupboards and sheds of old computers and equipment that has built up over time. They are being responsible about keeping relatively new items out of landfill when they go for an upgrade," said Kath Mclaughlin, the city's resource recovery manager.

This show of environmental responsibility is evident in the 498 computers, TVs, batteries and other goods that were collected. Together, the items weighed in at 15 tonnes.

"Sydneysiders have shown huge support for our e-waste recycling days, with the number of drop-offs regularly exceeding 500 since we started in 2008, and almost 300 tonnes of waste kept out of landfill," said Ms Mclaughlin.

Because not every last component of an electronic device can be recycled, the city still encourages people to sell or give away items that still work, and only put products that no longer work into the city collection.

If you're in Sydney, keep an eye out for the next free e-waste drop off day, which will take place on December 1 - the perfect time to give your home a summer clean-out and get rid of your clutter for the season.

Pasted by Charlie Moore