The Victorian Government introduced a ban on electronic items (e-waste) in any bin or landfill on 1 July 2019. There’s a better place for e-waste than your rubbish bin. It is much better going to a participating transfer station where we can recover the precious materials to be reused and capture the nasty bits before they can do harm.

Cooked but not toast graphic

What is e-waste?

E-waste refers to any item with a plug, battery or cord that is no longer working or wanted. It covers a whole range of items found at work, home and even the garden shed.

E-waste is the world’s fastest growing category of waste. More than 51 million tonnes1 of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2021 with this figure expected to increase to 68 million2 tonnes by 2030. 

Of this enormous figure, only about 17 per cent3 is estimated to be collected and recycled properly. The rest ends up in landfill.

Locally, the problem is significant, too. Australians are amongst the highest users and disposers of technology. In fact, in Australia the amount of e-waste is growing up to three times faster than general waste4. In Victoria, it is estimated that 256,0005 tonnes of e-waste will be generated by 2035.

1,2 Projected electronic waste generation worldwide from 2019 to 2030
3  Global e-waste – statistics & facts 
4  E-waste in Victoria 
5  E-waste in the workplace
Explore the range of items below
Small appliances
  • Irons
  • Toasters
  • Coffee machines
  • Hair dryers
  • Watches
Large appliances 
  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machines
  • Cookers
  • Microwaves
  • Electric fans
  • Air conditioners
IT, telecommunications and TV equipment
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Mobile phones
  • Televisions
  • Remote controls
Lighting equipment
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Compact fluorescent lamps
  • LEDs
Electrical and electronic tools
  • Batteries
  • Drills
  • Saws
  • Sewing machines
  • Lawn mowers
Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • Electric trains and racing cars
  • Hand-held video games
  • Consoles
  • Amplifiers
  • Musical instruments
  • Radios
What to do with e-waste
Why recycle e-waste?

There are two key reasons why e-waste should not be put in your bin:

Avoiding environmental contamination

Most e-waste contains hazardous materials. These can range from heavy metals such as lead, and mercury to ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and flame retardants.

Even in small amounts, these dangerous chemicals can cause environmental contamination. However, when millions of e-waste items are dumped in landfill or stored inappropriately, the situation becomes much more serious.

They can leach dangerous amounts of hazardous substances into our groundwater, soil, and air. As these substances do not break down easily, it can result in long term environmental pollution.

Recovering valuable materials

E-waste contains a range of valuable materials, including tin, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper, silver, gold and plastic. Recovering these preserves both their financial and utility value as well as reduces the need to mine new metals for new electronic products.

With correct techniques, up to 90 per cent of e-waste can be recycled with goal being a closed-loop. This means a new product isn’t made from raw materials, but instead from fully recycled components, which in turn are also completely recyclable.

Safe disposal of e-waste

Victorian households can take their e-waste to several sites such as participating transfer stations, recycling businesses and electrical stores. Used batteries are potentially hazardous, so please be sure to store and handle carefully. You can read more about this in FAQ 5.

Golden Plains Shire residents are encouraged to take their e-waste to the following sites:

Drop-off location E-waste accepted

Golden Plains Civic Centre: 2 Pope Street, Bannockburn

The Well - Smythesdale Business, Health and Community Hub: 19 Heales Street, Smythesdale

Household batteries, mobile phones, and other smaller e-waste items such as mice, keyboards and cables. Council also accepts printer cartridges for recycling.

E Waste Drop Off

Mobile phones collected by Council are sent to Mobile Muster, official recycling program of the telecommunication industry.

Rokewood Resource Recovery Centre: 141 Meadows Road, Rokewood and is open from 10am to 3pm on Sundays (excluding public holidays, code red and total fire ban days).
Geelong Transfer Station: Douro Street, North Geelong

Ballarat Transfer Station: Gillies Street South, Ballarat

Snake Valley Transfer Station: 298 Snake Valley-Mortchup Road, Snake Valley

All e-waste including mobile phones and batteries.
Woolworths stores AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V sizes as well as mobile phones.
Officeworks stores Accept most forms of e-waste including computers and laptop related equipment, smaller batteries and mobile phones.
Aldi Stores AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries.


Disposal options for businesses

Businesses are encouraged to safely dispose of their e-waste by taking it to any of the following transfer stations:

Alternatively, you can organise a collection with any of the following businesses*:

*The businesses listed above have agreed to be listed publicly on the Golden Plains Shire website. If you would like for your business to be listed here, please contact our Customer Experience team.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens to my e-waste when it goes for recycling?

You’ve done the right thing and dropped your old technology at an appropriate e-waste recycling facility. What happens to it now?

The answer depends on what the item is and where–or which organisation–you disposed of it. The way e-waste is recycled can vary, but it generally follows a similar pattern such as what is shown in this video

Here’s a breakdown of the process:
1.    Depending on the type of device, some manual disassembly may occur. Batteries and casing are removed from phones and steel casing from around hard-drives. Cartridges and toners are detached from printers. The glass from TVs and monitors will be fully separated to avoid the release of any toxic lead or mercury that may be present.
2.    After initial disassembly, the remaining items and components are sent to a shredder, which reduces the size of components to between 1cm and 10cm. Data destruction also takes place during this stage.
3.    Shredded material is then manually sorted or sorted using automatic machines. This includes using:

  • Magnets to remove ferrous metals (steel, copper)
  • Eddy currents to separate non-ferrous metals such as aluminium
  • Infrared beams, lasers, x-rays and bursts of compressed air to identify various plastics and other metals
  • Water to separate plastics from glass

4.    Once all the materials have been sorted into their raw form, they can be resold to suppliers to make new products. While most e-waste is dismantled in Australia, some materials are sent overseas. Many batteries are sent to South Korea, while Singapore takes circuit boards and batteries. Other components, such as copper, steel and plastics, are smelted here in Australia. 

With correct techniques, up to 90 per cent of e-waste can be recycled with goal being a closed-loop. This means a new product isn’t made from raw materials, but instead from fully recycled components, which in turn are also completely recyclable.

What else can I do?

Recycling your e-waste is important and necessary. But even better is to try and avoid creating e-waste in the first place.

You can do this by:

  • Carefully selecting the right product for your needs
  • Choosing a brand that's environmentally responsible
  • Only upgrading your tech if there's a real reason to do so
  • Learning about e-waste and the programs available to manage it
  • Supporting businesses that are working to solve the e-waste problem.

If you have an item you no longer need, but which still works and is in good condition, consider:

  • Offering it to friends or family, or try swapping or giving it away for free via an online recycling site
  • Donating it to a charity or Not-For-Profit organisation – but first make sure they’re happy to accept it
  • Selling it. There’s a large market for quality second-hand electronics. You’ll make money and be helping reduce the e-waste burden.

If you have an item that no longer works, consider getting it repaired at one of the following Repair Cafes:

Why is the rate of e-waste growing?

The underlying reasons for the global growth in e-waste volumes are a complex combination of changing patterns of demand and faster turnover from the supply side.

Some of these factors include:

  • Rapid innovation in both existing and new electronics
  • A decrease in built-in lifespan of electronic products
  • More affordable electronics increases accessibility and ultimately the amount of e-waste.
  • More complex product design which makes repair and recovery more difficult – and more expensive.
Where does most e-waste end up?

The Global E-waste Monitor reported that in 2016 only 20% of the world’s 44.7 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste was documented to be collected and properly. This means that the other 80% (35.8 Mt) of e-waste was not documented. What happened to it?

According to the Global E-waste Monitor, the vast majority of it was likely dumped, traded, or recycled in unsafe conditions. While it is difficult to know exactly where all this e-waste is dumped, we do know that each year thousands of tonnes is shipped to developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Much of it then ends up in toxic dumps where people use dangerous techniques to try and extract precious metals like gold, silver and copper. The health problems that can result from exposure to these dangerous practices can be life-threatening. 

You can learn more about the global environmental and social effects of the dumping of e-waste and the efforts to clean it up by watching the World Economic Forum's video 'E-waste: Cleaning Up The World's Fastest-Growing Trash Problem'.

How can I safely handle batteries?

Used batteries are potentially hazardous, so they need to be stored and handled carefully.

  • Keep batteries out of reach of children. Button cells (small round batteries) can be swallowed, causing choking or chemical burns
  • Be careful of damaged or leaking batteries. Some of the materials inside batteries are toxic and could result in poisoning
  • Keep batteries away from sunlight or heat. This may result in leakage of toxic materials
  • Reduce fire risk. Place individual batteries in a plastic bag or sleeve. Tape over the terminals of any lithium-based batteries, such as button cells; phone, camera and laptop batteries; and batteries with both terminals on one side (for example, 9V batteries).

For more information about the safe collection, storage, transport and handling of used handheld batteries refer to the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative guidelines.

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