Recycling your e-waste is just as important as recycling any other waste material. Toxfree is a true end-of-life recycler of electronic waste. Our business model, technologies and processes ensure that maximum e-waste recycling and recovery processing takes place in Australia and that we do not export the problem.
What is e-waste?
e-waste comes in many forms, including computers, photocopies, printer, fax machines, batteries and mobile phones.
Why is it a problem?
e-waste contains non-renewable but potentially toxic materials such as mercury and lead, that make it both an environmental hazard and a renewable resource.
What can I do?
Ensure that your e-waste is disposed of at a reliable, ethical recycling plant.
When handled correctly, at least 90% to 95% of e-waste components can be recycled, greatly reducing the environmental impact of landfill dumping, sourcing new materials, pollution and contamination.
What does Toxfree do with e-waste?
Toxfree delivers a true end-of-life solution for your e-waste. End-of-life means nothing is re-used; everything is destroyed as part of the recycling process.
Our processes ensure the e-waste is useless in terms of information retrieval or re-use. Should you require a greater level of security, such as individual hard drive destruction, talk to us about a tailored secure e-waste solution.
Our aim is to become the leading e-waste recycler in Australia and set a benchmark for all others to aspire to.
BluBox recycling plant
Toxfree’s BluBox is a Swiss designed processing technology packed in a 40ft container. It is designed for next generation e-waste such as flat panel displays, smart phones, tablets and laptops however can also process a wider variety of domestic e-waste such as toasters and hair dryers.
The BluBox process is designed to extract mercury from the LCD backlighting tubes utilising a sophisticated aspiration system to collect the mercury vapour and phosphor contaminated mercury. The process provides a fully automated solution to handle a wide variety of e-waste items from desktop computers and laptops, to toasters and hair-dryers.
Toxfree developed, in-house, Australia’s first semi-automated CRT recycling system. The system which incorporates; crushing, density and x-ray sorting technologies, separates the TVs and monitors into their major recyclable components creating value added commodities. The process includes Australia’s only x-ray sorting system, an automated system to separate the lead funnel glass and lead free panel glass found in CRT TVs and monitors.
E-waste drop-off events
Toxfree are experts in tailoring e-waste drop-off events for both business and communities. Whatever your e-waste recycling needs, Toxfree has the solution.
The Toxfree Kwinana Recourse Recovery Center is a seven star energy rated building. The Toxfree office facility is the first commercial office facility constructed from R Control SIP’s in Australia, built by JWH Group. Toxfree is proud to have invested in emerging energy efficient construction which also lessens the impact on the environment and creates greater comfort of occupancy.
An interview with Errol Beere and Rick Bryant of Toxfree.
The Houtman Abrolhos (often referred to as the ‘Abrolhos Islands’) is a chain of 122 islands and associated coral reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia, about 80 kilometres west of Geraldton.
It is the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean and one of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites. It is also the centre of Western Australia’s largest single species fishery, the western rock lobster fishery. A group of retirees from Perth Friends of the Abrolhos (PFA) have been progressively recovering rubbish from the islands over several years.
This year Toxfree supported the clean-up with 12 volunteers as well as resources required for the clean-up and total removal of rubbish from 8 of the islands. The quantity of waste was 4.08 tonnes, and was contained in 407 Toxfree branded, biodegradable rubbish bags.
Where does all the rubbish come from?
EB: Us humans! The majority of the rubbish recovered during the clean-up was plastics which can cause harm to a variety of fauna i.e. turtles and birds due to entrapment or ingestion. Whilst there was a lot of fishing rope and floats found, the amount of plastic drink bottles and discarded oil drums was concerning considering the damage these items can cause to the environment. Many of the plastic bottles found were so brittle that they disintegrated when touched, which caused a mini environmental disaster of small bite sized pieces of plastic, and took a concerted effort to remove every fragment.
RB: It would appear that the bulk of the rubbish falls off, or is discarded from commercial and recreational boats, and it is assumed that with the current flows into the coral group, that the rubbish comes from a very wide area of the Indian Ocean.
Why did you, personally, decide to be part of the clean-up effort?
EB: Having been a part of many Toxfree emergency response tasks, I looked forward to performing a clean-up task on a bunch of islands basked in sunlight as opposed to a busy heavy traffic corner covered in ammonium nitrate at night. However, the PPE requirement was much the same! I’ve always enjoyed the teamwork and experience gained on clean-up tasks such as this. Not only was it a great opportunity for team building, but it is always a proud feeling when you’ve been a part of a volunteer effort giving back to the community and environment in which we are all a part of. Very rewarding!
RB: Having been involved with a client who has a significant focus on the environment, the opportunity to participate in a very personal way to clean up a virtually untouched part of the world, for the benefit of the environment, was a fantastic opportunity. I immediately saw the benefits of building a relationship with the client within an area which is important to their ethos. In addition; to foster a team building activity that binds the team with a personal common goal – that is to say that environmental issues are very topical and we have actually gone out and done something that makes a difference. We also took advantage of a unique opportunity to harness a follow up media story about the waste activity, with the hope to broaden the company’s brand.
What was the best part of the experience?
EB: Seeing the differing geology and landscapes between the islands as well as the local seal population. One island had a beach made entirely of bleached coral pieces, probably 2 metres deep and ten metres wide in some spots, which stretched for a couple of hundred metres. The locals also took interest in our work, with some team members being followed along the coast line by inquisitive seals.
RB: I am completely overwhelmed by the attitude and commitment that my team gave to this excursion. The team maintained a high professional demeanour throughout the activity and rewarded me daily with the commitment to the task at hand. The resulting bonds that were forged on this excursion will pay dividends well in to the future.
Were there any bad parts of the experience?
EB: There really weren’t any bad moments, but I guess the moment when a 3m bronze whaler shark showed up minutes after our Chevron Contract Manager had been for a brief swim around our boat was a little concerning at the time.
RB: Aside from seeing the shark only one metre from the boat, minutes after I had climbed out of the water; the ocean voyage from Geraldton to the islands and return was not the most fun…. Let’s just say I was thankful for the magic sea sick tablet!!
Was there any strange waste you didn’t expect to see?
EB: Intact light globes, the old style, and we found many of them! How a light globe stays intact after washing ashore across reef and onto beaches made predominantly of rock was a surprise to me. It made you think of how many didn’t make it.
RB: And not just intact globes… there were a small handful of intact fluoro tubes! We also plucked a couple of tyres, and a surprisingly large number of jandals!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
EB: The exposure Toxfree has gained from this initiative has been fantastic and it was a wonderful opportunity for all involved; the PFA, the boat crew, the Toxfree team, as well as the wider community.
RB: This entire activity was absolutely rewarding from beginning to end. I feel extremely privileged to have led this amazing team on an activity that presents multiple benefits across multiple areas, including the team, the client, Toxfree and the environment. I am extremely grateful to the team who also gave up their own time to work damn hard collecting small pieces of rubbish in a very isolated and uninhabitable, but beautiful, part of the world.
There is no doubt that we are replacing our electronic goods faster then ever before, therefore it wont come as a surprise that 15.7 million computers reached their ‘end of life’ in Australia in 2007-2008. However only 1.5 million were recycled – that’s less than 10%.
E-waste is made up of electronic items requiring disposal. This could include, but is not limited to, refrigerators, radios, CD/DVD players, telephones, computers, televisions, washing machines, air conditioners, etc.
Electronic Waste can contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated fire retardants that are hazardous, difficult to dispose of and potentially damaging to the environment. Electronic waste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury found in landfill. E-waste that ends up at landfill could cause hazardous leachate liquid and if not controlled correctly, there is a risk that this can contaminate nearby groundwater, waterways or dams, potentially creating adverse environmental outcomes.
75% of the 3 million computers bought in Australia every year will end up in landfill.
What can you and your business do?
Valuable raw materials such as gold, copper, iron, nickel and silicon can be extracted from electronic components and re-used. Did you know that the average computer monitor contains up to 2kg of lead?
E-waste can be segregated from your normal waste streams and be recycled, as opposed to ending up at landfill. Toxfree has the ability to collect and recycle e-waste nationally to remove toxic materials from landfill and reuse various components.
Toxfree Solutions Ltd is one of Australia’s leading integrated waste management and industrial service provider. Our core values, “Safe, Reliable and Sustainable”, underpin our commitment to offer our customers the safest, most reliable and sustainable waste management solution we can.
Partner with Toxfree for ecological sustainability. Call us today on 1300 869 373.
Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Greenpeace—the e-waste program, E-waste 2010, Sustainability Matters, Planet Green Recycling, Recycle at Work, Mobile Muster and Zero Waste WA.
Did you know that Australians dispose of around 50-60 million fluorescent tubes and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps each year?
Currently it is estimated that only 5% of mercury-containing lamps are recycling around Australia. The average fluorescent tube contains approximately 15mg of mercury. This equates to approximately 10,000 tonnes of mercury contaminated waste being contained within Australian landfills.
Mercury is one of the most hazardous metals due to its high toxicity to humans and the environment. Mercury converts to the toxic and volatile gas methylmercury that can spread through the wider environment and can create adverse biodiversity effects. The largest source of mercury contamination in landfills is lighting products.
This is a major ecological hazard.
Toxfree has the capability to take mercury containing lighting products and convert them into their three core elements; aluminium, mercury and glass. The process involves the crushing, separating and cleaning of the lighting products, resulting in the elements being recycling and reused, instead of reaching landfill.
What can you and your business do?
As a waste generator, it is your responsibility to know the types of waste you produce, and to ensure it ends up at a waste facility that knows how to effectively treat it! This is irrespective of whether your waste is disposed, treated, recycled or applied to land.
Through our national recycling efforts, Toxfree has the ability to recycle Fluorescent Tubes, Lamps and Globes. We are also a foundation signatory to the joint industry and Government initiative “Fluorocycle”.
Jesse Brown, Business Manager – Technical & Environmental Services
Sources: Fluorocycle, Globe Jockeys, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities, NSW EPA & Highlands Regional Waste Management Group.