Out With the Old, In With the New


Australians generate more than 140,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, most of which ends up in landfill. Rapid changes in technology and media forms are two of the main reasons for electronic waste around the globe. Nowadays, we spend a good portion of our lives efficiently using different forms of technology. There’s really no way to escape that. We watch television at all ages, use the school computer labs throughout primary and high school, learn how to read and write with iPads and apps, and even document our experiences using mobile phones and cameras.

Nothing lasts very long though, which can be a cause for concern when users don’t know how to properly dispose of these products. For tech-lovers who just have to have the latest gadgets, recycling and ‘re-homing’ can be very beneficial. More often than not, parents will hand down their old phones, iPads, etc. to their children or hand them over to their slightly tech-challenged parents.

Dumping e-waste can be really hazardous for people and the environments we all live in. Some devices contain copper and platinum, which can be reused and recycled, while televisions and computer screens contain toxic chemicals, which can get into waterways if incorrectly disposed. By recycling our devices in the correct way (there are companies who will come and collect from your house, or drop off bays hosted by cities) we can prevent health issues and reduce green house gas emissions.

As fun and clever as new devices are, we have to be careful and clever when thinking of what to do with our old gadgets. It’s quickly become an issue that users have to stay on top of, and with regulations in place, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to keep the risk to a minimum.


Hieronymi, Klaus, Ramzy Kahhat, and Eric Williams. (2012).  E-Waste Management


3 thoughts on “Out With the Old, In With the New”

  1. I love that you’re promoting awareness of how hazardous e-waste is. It’s such a modern day problem now, with the proliferation of devices. Perhaps you could explore how tech companies are contributing to worsening the problem? For example, it’s well-known that Apple essentially designs their products for obsolescence, they want you to throw out your year-old products and upgrade to the latest model as soon as they put it out.

  2. The damage of the vessels of cyberculture. I like it.
    I remember watching a doco on this country in Africa (i tried to find it, i failed) where there are piles upon piles of e-waste. It’s basically a computer wasteland and the children are getting ill from the contamination you speak about. It might be worth looking into the companies that authorise this and if they have any alternative solutions in place.
    I think it would be worth seeing if there is anything out there that tells you how many drop off zones there are in an area – even just like the used mobile phone box in Student Central.
    Interesting topic!

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