Computers are an integral part of daily life, but as they become obsolete we’re faced with the problem of disposing of all the e-waste. The UN estimates that some 20 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated globally every year.
The vast number of products committed to landﬁll annually means toxic materials, including mercury and lead, can leach into soil and water and lead to contamination of the food chain. Additionally, rare and non-renewable materials are wasted instead of being re-used. Although Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics suggests that manufacturing methods have improved, many companies continue to use toxic chemicals and primary materials over recycled parts.
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At the end of November 2011, an estimated 17 per cent of TVs, computers and computer products were recycled in Australia. New government-backed recycling efforts have been put in place across most of Australia and it's the duty of consumers to engage with these and meet the national e-recycling target of 80 per cent by the end of 2021.