Live for Less guru Bronte North held a communal e-waste recycling day with her family, friends and neighbours to help tackle an ever-growing waste stream.

With e-waste becoming a bigger problem every time a new mobile phone is released (War on Waste showed the ugly truth that we have more phones than people in Australia) and just a general by-product of modern life, recycling tech is becoming more and more important.

Even though kerbside recycling doesn’t accept recycling, there are easy ways you can keep your old electronics out of landfill.

Recycle with your community

Our Live for Less team member, Bronte North, decided to make a day of it and recycle with her neighbours, family and friends.

She door-knocked her street and sent the call-out to her family and friends to drop off their e-waste to her home. Anything with a cord could be dropped off – computers, TVs, phones, lamps – you name it!

So what did they donate? From 17 households there were:

  • 16 computers
  • 6 monitors
  • 3 TVs
  • 6 DVD players
  • 11 routers
  • 6 stereo systems
  • 10 phones
  • 9 keyboards
  • A microwave
  • 2 fans
  • >100 cords
  • 12 hard drives
  • Dozens of other small appliances and toys

Once all the electronics were dropped in the team at Substation33 came around in their truck to pick up all the electronics to recycle them.

Who are Substation33?

Great question! Substation33 are a social enterprise of Youth and Family Services based in Logan. They’ve been recycling electronic waste since January 2013 and recycle over 200,000kgs of electronic waste in a year, with only 4% ending up in landfill.

We spoke to Substation33 team member, Whitney Lindsay, who said they run free collection services 5 days a week.

“We go as far as [Brisbane’s] north side, all the way down to Arundel at the Gold Coast and anywhere in between,” she said.

“[People can recycle] anything electronic, which means anything that you plug in or anything that takes batteries – computers, laptops, home appliances, cables, drills.”

Substation33’s main goal is to divert electronic waste from landfill and help work for the dole community volunteers and disability service gain employment.

They have over 50 volunteers every day breaking down electronic waste, while also being upskilled to find employment outside of Substation33.

“We reuse components of [the electronic waste] once it’s broken down,” Whitney said.

“So we build things like electronic bikes, 3D printers, and we make flooded road warning signs for Council which are made out of recycled laptop batteries.”

Whitney says she’s also noticed a change in more people being aware that they can recycle e-waste rather than throwing it out. Yay for recycling!

How can you get involved?

Host your own recycling day! Get your neighbours, friends and family to drop off their electronic waste to your house. Then get Substation33 to collect it by booking at their website.

We’d love to see you hosting your own recycling day, so please tag us in your posts @liveforlessau!