Electronic Recycling Australia

By Anne Bunning

Thought I’d let you know about Electronic Recycling Australia’s (ERA) bins (branded Unplug N’Drop) for anything vaguely electronic. There are 23 Unplug N Drop bins around metropolitan Adelaide, as well as several rural locations around SA.

Depositing all your electronic stuff is free and they really take anything from the batteries inside the radio to CDs, mobiles, cables, mouses, to the more obvious things like laptops and TVs. The best thing I saw were the insides of traffic lights – the arrows and the body shapes. The basic rule is – if it is domestic, plugs into a power point, uses a charger or is powered by battery ERA will take it.

Up to 95% of ewaste can be recycled and yet 80% of Australia’s ewaste goes to landfill. ERA wants that number to go down, so they take everything to reduce the confusion about what can and can’t be recycled. The cost of the stuff that needs to go to landfill is worn by the company. They do ask that you put bulk batteries or toner cartridges in a plastic bag so it doesn’t leak out everywhere. If they are still in the printer or radio it’s fine.  I was surprised at how diligent they are in separating things. Most of the components are recycled locally but some stuff does go to China at the moment. When the smelter upgrade is finished in Port Pirie they will be able to send the stuff to Pirie instead.

I did a tour of Electronic Recycling Australia’s facility on Holbrooks Road on Monday and it is a terrific operation. It was established by Minda and 55 of the 70 employees have disabilities. It was a remarkably happy and friendly work environment and everyone we met was very enthusiastic. They’re keen to promote the service and would be happy for groups like Sustainable Communities SA to go on a tour of the facility. I would certainly recommend it.

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