Nov 24, 2021, 13:00 PM

On-demand e-waste collection services can reduce the risk of dangerous garbage truck fires caused by electronic items wrongly disposed of in regular rubbish collections.

This month, Citywide and our social enterprise partner Good Cycles began piloting an environmentally-friendly e-waste collection service for ratepayers in the City of Melbourne.

Under emissions-free pedal power, the trial is using e-cargo bikes to collect smaller e-waste items, which are taken to a central resource recovery site for sorting and proper recycling or disposal.

“We experience at least half a dozen hot load incidents in trucks each year – they are a real safety and health risk in waste and recycling management,” Duncan Reid, Executive – Operations at Citywide, said.

“E-waste items, such as batteries, that are dumped in regular rubbish bins pose a major risk when they are compacted in our trucks, potentially puncturing the casings and causing dangerous chemicals inside to combust.

“It really doesn’t take much for this type of electronic waste to flare up, even if it’s buried and compacted under mixed rubbish materials while still in our trucks.”

Sustainable community e-waste collection services would not only help avoid high-risk safety incidents but also ensure more recyclable materials didn’t end up in landfill, added Duncan.

Related: E-waste collections clear the way for eco-conscious Melburnians

E-waste was banned from landfill by the Victorian Government in 2019. According to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA Vic), e-waste is growing up to three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia.

Liam Crowley, Citywide’s Innovation and Continuous Improvement Manager, said issues such as garbage truck hot loads showed that public education was still needed to tackle the issue of wrongly-disposed electronic waste.

“Few people consider that their old mobile phones and tablets are also oversized batteries – it’s not just the traditional batteries we use in TV remote controls or children’s toys,” he said. “As well, other electronic items contain heavy metals which will otherwise end up in landfill, polluting the environment if not disposed of correctly.”

The City of Melbourne e-waste collection trial runs through Christmas until January 8th, for residents in postcodes: 3051, 3054, 3050, 3010, 3052, 3031, 3032, 3003, 3008, 3000, 3053.

E-waste types for collection include:

  • Laptop
  • Household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt batteries)
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Hard drives
  • Modems and routers
  • Flash drives
  • Cables and plugs
  • Computer mouse
  • Computer keyboard
  • Gaming controller

On-demand collection bookings can be made online: https://ewastecom.citywide.com.au/

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Media Contact:
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications 
M 0427 307 216 
simon.mossman@citywide.com.au