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How to dispose of your old appliances

Published on: 27 January 2015

As the rate of technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is now one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. To make matters worse, some e-waste components contain hazardous materials electronics and gases, including mercury, which can damage the environment. 

What is e-waste?

E-Waste is the term used for electronic goods that came to the end of their lives. Examples of e-waste include: batteries, computer equipment, cell-phones, cameras, small and large household appliances (ranging from TVs to toasters). Basically, anything that runs on batteries or electricity is e-waste.

If you are not already doing so, be responsible and follow these tips and suggestions to dispose of your equipment and appliances in a responsible way.

  • Donate:  This is always great way to put unwanted goods to use. Various charity organisations are in dire need of electronic equipment, and your old laptop could make a difference. The same applies to cell phones, radios, watches, video games, and appliances. MiWay, for example, refurbishes its used computers and donates them to schools in need as part of its CSI initiative.
  • Sell: You could try to make a bit of cash by selling your unwanted electronic equipment to a second-hand shop, or the internet via websites such as Bid or Buy or OLX.
  • Look for an e-waste recycler in your neighbourhood:  These are authorised and certified companies that will split up the materials in the e-waste into different components such as glass, metal, aluminium, plastic, etc. Some companies will even collect your e-waste from you. Try Googling “ewaste South Africa” to find your nearest recycler.
  • Return the equipment to the original supplier: If you’re buying a new appliance and need to get rid of an old one, check to see if the company you’re purchasing from offers disposal services. For example, many of the cell phone companies will take their old handsets back.
  • Recycling depots and supermarkets: Used batteries, CFLs, fluorescent bulbs and other light bulbs should not be thrown away with your other household trash as these are toxic to the environment. Be on the lookout for designated recycling bins at supermarkets and garage stations.

With our heavy reliance on electrical equipment, responsible e-waste disposal is now more essential than ever before. Before you throw that old broken kitchen appliance into the trash, think again.