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What is E-Waste?

What happens when your television, laptop, fax machine or other common electronic products reach the end of their useful life? For many people, it simply means tossing these items in the trash and buying new – and this leads to one of the fastest growing areas of waste in our country: e-waste.

Technology is a rapidly growing industry and as each manufacturer improves their device or releases a faster, more powerful computer, many people and business owners are quick to throw out their older electronics simply to upgrade to the latest and greatest technology available.

Most electronics could be refurbished, reused in another capacity or otherwise recycled, rather than just tossed in the trash. The growing green movement has led many environmentally conscious people to make an effort to use less paper and recycle whenever possible. However, until more people become aware of E-Waste, our increasing reliance on electronics in order to reduce paper is simply replacing one problem with another.

Environmental and Health Concerns of E-Waste

E-waste is often more dangerous than people realize. Consider cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which are found in many televisions: CRTs contain lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. A mobile phone contains anywhere from 500 to 1,000 different components and many of these components are also known to contain toxic heavy metals and a variety of dangerous or hazardous chemicals.

When we drop these electronics off at the landfill, the materials can poison our water supply and soil, which then leads to health problems for people and animals in the area. Much of the world’s e-waste is being illegally exported to Asia and Africa, causing major problems in the area. Here are some of the chemicals found in e-waste and their effects:

Brominated flame retardants: These do not decompose easily in the environment, and long term exposure to brominated flame retardants can cause impaired memory function and learning. Pregnant women exposed to brominated flame retardants have been shown to give birth to babies with behavioral problems as it interferes with estrogen and thyroid functioning.

Lead: Found in most computer monitors and televisions, lead exposure leads to intellectual impairment in children and serious damages to human reproductive systems, the nervous system and blood.

Cadmium: Found in laptop rechargeable batteries and other electronic device rechargeable batteries, this can cause damage to kidneys and bones.

Mercury: Found in flat screen monitors and televisions, this damages the central nervous system and brain in people of all ages, but particularly during the early years of development.

Hexavalentchromium Compounds: A known carcinogen, these are used in the creation of metal housings, which are typical of many electronic products.

Minimizing E-Waste

Shredlock Australia is now one of only a few companies in Australia that can offer SCEC (Security Construction and Equipment Committee) endorsed equipment for Hard Drive and media destruction to all levels of security, even to ‘Top Secret’ Australian Government standards reducing whole hard drives to 3mm particles in just minutes.

Shredlock guarantees to recycle 100% of your ‘e-waste’ including monitors, keyboards, mouse, PC boxes, laptops, modems, printers, UPS and most other office electrical equipment.

To book a service or for more information please contact one of our customer service team on 1300 747 338.

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