How you can help save the planet from our obsession with devices

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How many electronic devices have you bought this year? It is September, and my household count is nine. And those purchases have made 4 electronics devices redundant.

And the old devices are still sitting around my house, hardly a model of sustainability. But apparently I am not alone. Australia is one of the highest users of electronic devices in the world.

I was shocked to hear almost 90% of the 3 million computers and TV’s bought in Australia each year end up as waste in the bin. They’re not even recycled.

That translates to over 650,000 tonnes of electronic waste a year cross the country – a massive contribution to landfill, and ultimately disruption of the planet.

The solution sounds simple – we need to stop upgrading our electronics gear so quickly. But Australians love new devices.

According to google’s consumer barometer, 50% of computer users in Australia use 3 screens – a smartphone, computer and tablet. But on average we have 4 devices connected per person.

Now if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us need that many?

A mobile phone provider survey in 2018 found 88% of Aussies have a smart phone, and we are checking our phones an average of 130 times a day.

A terrible stat they also calculated was that 40% of us would choose more mobile data over running water. Yikes. With those kinds of numbers, it is no wonder we have a problem.

I read about e-waste drop off day this  Saturday 14 September in Sydney, which sounds like a really smart idea.

But I’m really waving a flag to each of us to ask why are we so obsessed with owning the latest and greatest – and discarding our old electronics gear?

The issue of electronic waste extends to our smart phones,  computers, DVD players, speakers, TV’s and anything else that needs power.

If we insist on buying the gear, there are other practical ways to prevent this massive problem, including:

  1. Fixing your old hardware: We don’t always think of fixing our computers, or even our phones, but there are plenty of stores around who will fix electronics at a reasonable price.

2) If you simply do not want your old electronics gear, Oz Recycle can re-distribute it to someone who really wants or needs it.

3) Take the item to the e-waste drop off on Saturday 14 (anyone living anywhere in Sydney can utilise the service)

4) If you happen to live in the City of Sydney area, you can arrange for collection of your unwanted or broken items from your property.

All of these solutions feel like band-aids rather than drilling down to the core issues but I guess that’s better than nothing for now.

Renae Leith-Manos

CONTRIBUTOR

Renae Leith-Manos travels the world writing (www.renaesworld.com.au). She has had a colourful media career as a journalist in many magazines and newspapers, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling.
She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips.
She spends most weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins.

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