While replacing old technology with shiny new gadgets is always an exciting time, making sure that old tech doesn’t harm the environment is incredibly important.
Many tech products are manufactured using toxic materials and hazardous chemicals, which can contaminate soil and water. This is obviously a huge reason for keeping it out of landfills, but even a computer sitting on the side of the road can also leak nasties into the environment, especially in wet weather.
Outside of that, a hard drive that hasn’t been properly wiped can be harvested for sensitive personal data, so it’s really in your best interests to take care of things the right way.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the annual value of e-waste amounts to more than US$62.5 billion, which is more than 50 million tonnes each year as of 2019. Luckily, responsibly disposing of your old tech is easy, and might even score you some cash.
If the item still works, consider selling it on a platform like Gumtree or eBay. Even if you think it’s beyond obsolete and virtually worthless, you’ll be surprised how many people actually look for old PCs, either as collector’s items or to reuse the parts inside them.
If you’d rather donate your tech, it’s best not to take it down to your local Vinnies, as it may need some work before it can be given to someone else. Instead, there are community groups that can do the required refurbishing and handle the donation on your behalf after that. To find your closest group, check out Recycling Near You or Technical Aid to the Disabled.
If the item is well and truly kaput, it’s probably time to chuck it. There are heaps of ways to get rid of your old tech and you’ll find the vast majority of them via the Planet Ark-run Recycling Near You, a massive database of e-cycling information. There, you can punch in your postcode and find drop-off locations as well as curb-side collection information for your area.
There’s also the government-run National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS), which provides drop-off points for homes and small businesses looking to dispose of computers, peripherals, printers, laptops and TVs.
The four companies below are also approved for recycling services under the scheme. You’ll also find them via Recycling Near You.
When it comes to recycling your old phone, Mobile Muster is the main service for doing so in Australia. Not only are their drop-off points all over the country for mobile phones and accessories, but the company also runs a free postage service. Simply request a free pre-paid postage label, wait for it to come, package up your phone and send it back.
With all of these great free services, there really is no excuse for letting your old tech end up in a landfill.