Is e-waste the dark side of the tech revolution?

There’s a lot of discussion surrounding the benefits of technological developments, but what are the down sides? Here’s how e-waste is changing the world.


Up until now, the benefits of the mobile revolution have been the focus of discussions around smart​ devices. Whether we’re talking about they way they can boost productivity, contribute to a more flexible workforce or create a better connected world, it’s all been good news so far.

Unfortunately, that streak has to come to an end, Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom, but instead another challenge for next-generation technology workers to get their heads around.

In our rush to buy the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, we’re putting little thought into what happens to our older models when they’re disposed of. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, millions of devices each year come to the end of their life. The agency found that – in the US at least – only about a quarter of these were actually being recycled correctly.

The Department of the Environment in Australia has created the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to ensure the country is doing its best to minimise e-waste. So far, the program has resulted in the collection and recycling of over 130,000 tonnes of TV and computer products.

The Australian government is adhering to strict criteria for these recycling procedures as well. At least 90 per cent of all the material recovered by the scheme must be reusable, drastically minimising the waste that occurs when these products are disposed of.

These figures mean that of all 130,000 tonnes of e-waste that Australians recycled since the scheme began, only 10 per cent will be completely cast aside. The other 90 per cent, according to the Department of the Environment, is to be reused in other products.

While the scheme hasn’t met these targets yet, the department is confident they will become attainable as the project matures.

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