Global E-waste Monitor 2017 shows 20 per cent e-waste recycled

A new report has found Australia, New Zealand and other nations of Oceania are the highest per capita e-waste generators, with only six per cent formally collected and recycled.

The Global E-waste Monitor 2017 was developed collaboratively by United Nations University (UNU) and hosted by UNU’s Vice-Rectorate in Europe, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association.

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It uses data from 2016 and shows that the world generated 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste that year – equal to 4500 Eiffel Towers, with only 20 per cent of this recycled. The report foresees this to increase by 17 per cent to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021.

The estimated value of recoverable materials that year was US $55 billion. Meanwhile, about 4 per cent of 2016’s e-waste is being thrown into landfills, with about 76 per cent presumed to be incinerated.

Europe, including Russia, was found to be the second largest e-waste generator per inhabitant with an average of 16.6 kg per inhabitant. Europe still had the highest collection rate at 35 per cent.

The Americas generate 11.6kg per inhabitant and collect 17 per cent, while Asia collects 15 per cent and generates 4.2kg per inhabitant.

Read the full report here.


Victorian EPA issues works approval for e-waste recycling

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued a works approval to a Campbellfield company for a facility that will allow it to recycle electronic waste (e-waste).

MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd was granted the works approval for the proposed Sydney Road facility, to manually disassemble e-waste, including nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries, into raw materials for resale.

EPA Development Assessments Manager Tim Faragher said the e-waste stream is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia.

“The Victorian Government has committed to banning e-waste from landfill in Victoria and the number of e-waste re-processors is predicted to grow following the ban’s introduction,” Mr Faragher said.

“Both e-waste and processed e-waste materials must be handled and stored with due care in order to avoid leakage and the release of hazardous substances into air, water or soil.”

Mr Faragher said EPA’s assessment of the proposal had focused on key environmental issues including potential dust emissions and land and stormwater contamination.

“EPA’s assessment of the proposal focused on key environmental issues including potential dust emissions, land and stormwater contamination and ensuring that suitable controls were put in place,” Mr Faragher said.

Mr Faragher said more than 90 per cent of e-waste and batteries received by the site would be recycled with any residual waste sent to a facility licensed to receive it.

Works approvals are issued by EPA Victoria under the Environment Protection Act 1970. They are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.

The company required an EPA works approval as under new regulations, e-waste treatment facilities with the capacity to reprocess more than 500 tonnes of specified electronic waste per year are considered scheduled premises.

The application was referred to City of Hume Council, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), WorkSafe Victoria and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) for assessment and comment.