e-waste

E-waste collected at our Drysdale and Geelong Resource Recovery Centres is processed right here in Victoria. 

What is e-waste?

The term e-waste covers unwanted electrical or electronic products which connect to a power plug or battery. Some types of e-waste, such as kettles and fridges, have been everyday items in our homes for decades, while others, like smart phones and wireless speakers, are relatively new. The digitisation of our society means e-waste is growing three times faster than any other waste stream.

In Victoria it is illegal to dispose of any type of e-waste in landfill. One of the main reasons behind this is it contains toxic metals such as mercury and lead. However, e-waste also contains widely used metals like copper and iron, as well as precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. Traditionally, these metals have been mined from ore in the ground, resulting in extensive environmental damage. Through recycling e-waste, in a process known as urban mining, metals in e-waste can be recovered, reducing the demand for traditional mining.

Did you know?
The precious metals mined from e-waste occur at much higher concentrations than occur naturally. For example, mining one tonne of recycled mobile phones can yield the equivalent amount of gold to mining 100 tonnes of gold ore from the Earth.

Geelong's e-waste

In the first three months of 2023, Geelong residents recycled 13,412 e-waste items, weighing a whopping 105 tonnes. That’s averaging around 150 items and 1 tonne per day being saved from landfill! This included:

  • 608 computers
  • 373 Vacuums
  • 1,478 flat screen televisions
  • 36 washing machines
  • 522 small kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles

Plus much more!

E-waste collected in Geelong is then transported to the south-eastern suburb of Dandenong, where one of Australia’s largest and most advanced e-waste processing facilities, Scipher, is located.


What happens to e-waste at Scipher?

E-waste is separated into its different components. This is a complex process, and requires a combination of skilled manual workers, processing lines, and new technologies.

To begin with, highly trained manual workers separate different components. One of the most important tasks they have is removing batteries. While often found inside e-waste, batteries are classified as hazardous waste and require a different recycling stream. 

Two processing lines are then used to shred and sort a large part of the e-waste. In the primary processing line the e-waste is shredded and a magnet used to separate ferrous metals. Large pieces such as motors and circuit boards are collected manually.

The remaining material is then fed into a secondary processing line, where it is shredded again to help separate any materials that are still stuck together. This is then separated further using a second magnet to collect any ferrous metals, and an eddy current to separate non-ferrous metals.

Next, materials pass through an optical sorter, which uses high-speed camera technology and compressed air to separate components such as circuit board.

Some elements require different treatment. Schipher is also the only e-waste recycling facility in Australia to operate BluBox, a closed recycling system which operates under negative pressure. This means it can be used to safely extract mercury vapour from items such as flat screen TVs.

Lastly, separated elements are transported to re-enter supply chains both local and overseas.


How can I recycle my e-waste in Geelong?

Your e-waste can be dropped off for free at:

If you can, remove batteries first and place in a dedicated battery recycling stream. 

Small e-waste items can be dropped off for free at the Wurriki Nyal Civic Precinct recycling station

Don't forget, hard waste can be e-waste! If your e-waste is too big to transport, such as an old-style television, you can book a free hard waste collection





Page last updated: Thursday, 12 October 2023

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