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Electronic waste

Free recycling for computers and electronic goods (e-waste)

Did you know ?

Council provides free drop off of computers and electronic waste at the Byron Resource Recovery Centre located at Myocum.

What e-waste can I recycle in Byron Shire ?

What is e-waste?

E-waste is the term used for all waste from electronic equipment that is unwanted, cannot be reused and has no resale value or market, but can be recycled into new products.  It has been created by the rapidly changing technology used by all sections of the community, which sees us replace old electronic equipment on a regular basis.

What items make up e-waste?

Many people think that e-waste only applies to computers; however it includes a range of electronic items that we use at home and in our workplaces.  The list includes computer equipment; business and home office equipment and entertainment equipment.

Why is e-waste a problem?

  • E-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste in the community. 
  • Computers and other electronic equipment are made from hundreds of different materials.  Many of these materials are inherently valuable, such as gold and platinum, and many are non-renewable.  If they can be extracted they can be reused in manufacture again as a 'secondary' raw material.
  • Heavy metals including lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic are used in electronic equipment.  When recycled, they reduce the level of potentially harmful contaminants in waste going to landfill.  
  • Printer inks and toners often contain potentially hazardous materials such as carbon black and cadmium.
  • E-waste takes up valuable space in landfill sites. 

What are the benefits of recycling e-waste?

  • Saving landfill space due to reduced e-waste volumes entering landfill
  • Recovery of raw materials such as glass, precious and non-precious metals, and plastic
  • Reduced contamination of landfill sites

What is Council doing about e-waste

Council has collaborated with member Councils of the North East Waste Forum (Tweed, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley Councils) to examine options for a permanent e-waste recycling program.  

The North East Waste Forum has considered a range of options for providing recycling facilities for e-waste and concluded that the preferred model is to provide permanent drop off facilities for e-waste at Waste Management Facilities.

Council commenced recycling of electronic waste in August 2009 and collects around 8 tonnes of e-Waste each month for recycling.

Under the program the collected e-waste would be transported to Brisbane for recycling. Recovery rates of up to 98% can be achieved, that is, up to 98% by weight of the incoming items can be recovered and sent for reprocessing.

E-waste recycling is very expensive

E-waste is a growing waste stream that currently costs in the order of 10 times the cost of disposal to recycle.

The emergence of an e-waste recycling industry has provided an opportunity to recycle this waste stream on a large scale.

There has been increasing awareness of the ability to recycle e-waste among the community and there are growing expectations that Councils should provide this service. At the same time, the Local Government and Shires Association have been lobbying to have a national system for recycling e-waste introduced.

The Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) recently announced a commitment to establishing a national scheme for recycling of televisions and computers, and have committed to further evaluate a national scheme for all e-Waste.  However, the National scheme is unlikely to be rolled out in our region until 2014.

Council, along with the member Councils of the North East Waste Forum are seeking to have our region included in the Nationally funded program sooner, as we have an established facilities and collection arrangements in place.

Enquiries: 02 6626 7077

For more information please visit the North East Waste Forum website.