Hunter e-waste set to quadruple

THE amount of electronic waste put out for recycling in the Hunter is expected to quadruple over the next few years as the life span of electronic equipment becomes shorter.

Hunter Resource Recovery, which collects the waste in the region, recently registered its millionth tonne since it began collecting in 2009.

The most recent record was the collection of 66 tonnes of e-waste in one day, in Newcastle on March 31.

The figure was up 40per cent on last year’s result.

‘‘I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg,’’ Hunter Resource Recovery manager Roger Lewis said.

Analog television sets make up the bulk of the e-waste, which also includes computer hardware, cameras, CD and DVD players, appliances and cables.

‘‘People are replacing their old stuff with new stuff, the thing is the new stuff isn’t built to last. It’s got a shelf life of a couple of years,’’ Mr Lewis said.

E-waste collected in the Hunter is dismantled at Mai-Wel Limited at East Maitland before it is sent to Sims Metal in Sydney for processing and recycling.

Mai-Wel, which employs and trains people with disabilities, has gone from a workforce of six part-time staff three years ago to 54 full-time staff working over two shifts.

Hunter Resource Recovery works in conjunction with Lower Hunter councils to organise collection days.

Newcastle councillor Michael Osborne said there was a need for more e-waste collection days.

‘‘The Newcastle community is responding to the message that e-waste needs to be recycled,’’ he said.

‘‘The response from the community highlights that council needs to have more e-waste collections.’’

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