Friday, 30 May 2014

Do you know where your rubbish is going?

When you hire skip bins, do you really know where your rubbish is going? The reality is the majority of things you throw in the bins are more than likely to go to landfill. These days, products that are not designed for landfill are being thrown in the bin including electronic waste like old computers.
Alarmingly, electronic waste mounting up in landfill is starting to produce some alarming results. Electronic waste contains dangerous metals like lead, cadmium and mercury. Slowly, these dangerous metals are leading out into the surrounding soil and groundwater. If we are not careful with these metals, they could begin to affect our health. The health effects are huge including cancer, mental health disorders and tumours.

Queensland University’s National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology shows the chemicals from these metals are already everywhere in Australia. From the environment, to the people, these metals are making their mark. Disturbingly, test reveal children under four years old have high level of blood contamination. Overall, putting electronic waste into landfill is not a healthy option. Instead, there needs to be a strong focus on recycling this type of waste. Unfortunately, from 2007-2008, 16.8 million electronic devices were discarded, with only 9 per cent recycled. This meant, a staggering 14.7 million electronic devices were sent to landfill.

Disturbingly, e-waste is often exported by developed countries, to developing countries. In 2005, 18 European seaports were inspected and it was found that 47% of illegal waste was being exported. In the UK, 23,000 metric tonnes of undeclared e-waste was shipped to India, Africa and China. In the US it was also found that 50-80% of e-waste that was meant to be recycled, was also being exported. In 2000, mainland China tried to put a stop to this happening by banning the importation of e-waste. However the laws did not work, since e-waste was still being sent to Guiya of Guangdon Province. In addition to China, e-waste is also becoming to be a problem in India. A huge 25,000 workers are hired in scrap yards in Delhi alone, where 10-20000 tonnes of e-waste is being handled each year, 25% of that being computers.   

The Basel Convention has been introduced as an international treaty, designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste. Despite over 150 countries signing the treaty, exporting e-waste is still occurring. Even Australia is involved and is reported to be exporting up to 20 million dollars worth of e-waste per year, despite not having a permit to do so. Companies face a fine on up to $1 million or jail time of up to five years, if caught exporting to any other country.

This is why it is important to make sure you select a skip bins provider in Adelaide that recycles goods only in Australia. By ensuring this, you will have peace of mind knowing that your electrical goods will not be exported as e-waste to developing counties. Next time you need to hire a skip bins provider in Adelaide, ensure you choose a company like Green Bins who does not export e-waste overseas. Call Green Bins on (08) 8280 3318.

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