How much Audio Waste is there in Australia?

Nowadays, audio technology has proven to be an integral part of every person’s life. From in-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, speakers, and turntables, audio technology plays a major role in assisting people with productivity, communication, and entertainment. However, the rapid need for audio technology comes with significant volumes of audio waste. Audio waste and e-waste is one of the fastest growing wastes in Australia, driven by Australian consumers’ rapid needs for better and advanced technology. With constantly evolving audio technology, disposing of audio waste has emerged as a major environmental challenge that needs to be addressed. Australian consumers are disposing of electronic devices at extraordinary rates, and over the past decade, the volume of e-waste generated by people of Australia has more than doubled. Australians are amongst the highest consumers of technology, disposing more than 100,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.

Millions of electronic devices, such as headphones and speakers, are discarded in Australia every year, and in recent years have witnessed a substantial increase in audio and e-waste.

According to Clean Up Organisation, the Global E-Waste Monitor in 2020 reported that e-waste increased by 21 per cent from 2014 to 2019, and is predicted that by 2030, the figure will be almost doubled, as it is fuelled by higher consumption of e-waste, limited repair options, and shorter lifecycles.

The Major Problem

Improper audio waste and e-waste disposal have caused these volumes to reach staggering levels, and therefore more awareness of recycling to proper consumer electronic processing and recycling facilities and drop-off points need to be made.

  • Almost 90% of the 3 million TV’s and 4 million computers that are purchased in Australia every year will most likely end up in landfill sites, contributing to more than 140,000 tonnes of electronic consumer waste.
  • Around 10% of PCs and laptops and less than 1% of TVs are recycled in Australia
  • Audio and e-waste causes 70% of hazardous chemicals that harm the environment, including harmful toxins such as mercury and lead that has been found in landfill. If half of the televisions that have been improperly disposed of were properly recycled, it could have reduced 23,000 tones of CO2 emissions.
  • E-waste is growing 3 times faster than any other waste stream
  • Improperly disposed audio waste and e-waste are harming the environment at around 40 million per year
  • 98% of the parts in your computer or television can be fully recycled and can be reused to make new products.

If we do not dispose of our audio waste properly, it can end up in landfill sites. Toxic chemicals then bleed into the soil, water, and air, and pose environmental hazards that cause detriment to our earth and our health.

The rising need of audio equipment in today’s society has also brought a significant environmental problem of audio waste, posing major environmental risks in Australia. By understanding the staggering volumes of how much audio waste and e-waste there is in Australia, helps us recognise the major problem and start adopting sustainable practices in recycling audio technology.

Through proper disposal of e-waste at e-waste recycling processing facilities, drop-off points, giving your pre-loved devices to your friends and family, or having them collected at local council recycling events, we can mitigate the harmful effects of e-waste and protect the environment for the future.

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