Retiring old Computers? Here’s How to Stay out of the Headlines

E-waste represents the fastest-growing waste stream not just in Australia but the world. This year, globally, at least 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated.

From experience with our clients, we know the average business desk has between six and eight devices inside arm’s reach: a mobile and desk phone, keyboard, mouse, up to three monitors and a notebook or desktop. Add in office printers, projectors, electronic whiteboards and other shared items and the volume of e-waste quickly multiplies.

But what happens to all those devices when they reach the end of their life?

Unfortunately, while nearly all e-waste is recyclable, currently only around 20% is being recycled. That means the majority is ending up as landfill or airborne pollution, which can produce some serious health consequences.

Throwing your old IT equipment in the bin might seem like the cheapest and easiest option but it is also the easiest way to end up in the news. With the world’s spotlight shining on e-waste, it’s no surprise that “Australian e-waste ending up in toxic African dump” or “e-waste from Australian drop-off points exported” are trending news headlines.

So, how can you be sure you’ll stay out of the news?

When it comes to getting rid of your old IT equipment it is imperative to have an ethical disposal process in place and be conscious of where your e-waste is ending up to avoid unwanted news exposure. Accredited disposal providers have the resources and processes in place to ensure your e-waste does not end up in landfill.

What to look for:

Partner with environmentally-accredited suppliers to collect and ethically dispose of your equipment. Ensure the supplier has a Landfill Diversion Plan in place to be sure your retired assets are being properly repurposed or recycled and diverted away from landfill.

A professional disposal company will have a verifiable chain of custody and be able to provide reporting on your assets throughout the entire disposal process. Accredited suppliers will have downstream partners in place and be able to provide you with documentation on exactly where your e-waste is ending up.

Get ahead of the legislation

The Victorian government has introduced new e-waste legislation which will come into effect on 1st July 2019. This policy bans e-waste from Victoria’s landfill and specifies how it is to be managed. This follows in the footsteps of South Australia who introduced an e-waste ban in 2013.

Overseas, legislation has been in place in California since 2003, and has seen companies like Target and AT&T making headlines and slapped with big fines for non-compliance.

E-waste legislation bans reinforce to organisations that it is no longer good enough to throw your retired IT equipment away; you need to have an environmentally-sound management plan or risk both financial and reputational consequences.

A sidenote on ACT Logistics

ACT Logistics is 100% committed to diverting from landfill. In the last 5 years alone, we have diverted 1,935 tonnes of e-waste from ending up in landfill, which is the equivalent of 54 semi-trailers.

Our secure chain of custody and comprehensive, transparent reporting mean that our clients can have confidence that every device they entrust to us is cared for under our environmental management plan.