Why do we hoard e-waste?

Wednesday, 10 February, 2016

E-waste collection and recycling service TechCollect recently commissioned a survey which found that while 95.7% of Australians agree that recycling e-waste is important, 45% do not currently do so. But what’s the reason for this?

When asked what the biggest barriers to e-waste recycling were, the top responses were ‘I’m not sure where to start’ (46.1%) and ‘I’m worried about my personal data getting into the wrong hands’ (38.7%). This is despite the fact that it is relatively simple to permanently erase personal data from old computers or tablets — all you have to do is contact the manufacturer of your device or search online for data wiping services.

Other respondents didn’t know where drop-off points were, while some didn’t know they could recycle their old technology in the first place (for example, 70.6% didn’t know that they could recycle power cords). Meanwhile, 24% are holding onto their old technology out of fear that they might need it one day, and 38.6% just don’t know what to do with it.

Of particular concern to TechCollect is the revelation that 43% of respondents have put their e-waste on the nature strip for council collection. TechCollect CEO Carmel Dollisson said this can be hazardous to the environment, as well as providing no guarantee that the product won’t end up in landfill.

“By recycling televisions and computers through a program like TechCollect, we ensure that non-renewable resources are safely recovered, so that they can be used again in future manufacturing, as well as ensuring that products containing materials which can be dangerous to both people and the environment, if put in landfill, are instead correctly recovered or disposed of.”

With only 11.5% of respondents describing e-waste recycling as a top priority in their household, and 91.8% believing there should be better retail incentives in place, it is clear that the e-waste knowledge gap needs to be closed.

“Information and awareness are key to the success of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, which TechCollect operates under,” said Dollisson. “An important priority for the scheme is to educate the public to understand the important role we all play in responsible e-waste recycling. In the digital age, where technology consumption is at an all-time high, this has never been more prevalent.”

For more information about TechCollect, or to find a designated drop-off site close to you, visit http://www.techcollect.com.au/.

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