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Thailand has become the new destination for a large portion of the Western world’s waste. The result of this process has seen local waterways polluted beyond the possibility of repair, communities suffering without access to clean water, and hazardous levels of toxic materials seeping into the ground.

The e-waste Thailand has been burdened with is causing irreversible damage, so it’s important to understand how things ended up this way.

What happens to e-waste in Australia?

Like most Western nations, our recyclable waste is sold to foreign countries that have the machinery to process it. The incentive for them is the ability to recycle the valuable materials (such as gold and copper) into new products.

Originally, a lot of our e-waste was sold to China which caused excess e-waste dumping in China. Asia has reasonably weak laws on environmental protection, so they have welcomed the prospect of other nations’ potentially harmful waste. However, a recent and rapid shift of global markets has seen China tighten its laws on plastics and e-waste materials. The result of this has seen Thailand, Malaysia and other nearby nations inherit overwhelming volumes of the Western world’s e-waste.

Sadly though, the term “overwhelming” has almost become too lax of a word to describe their waste situation. The ABC reported that Australia sent over 250,000kg of e-waste to Thailand in 2018 alone, a figure 500 times higher than in 2017.

PHOTO: Electronic waste from western nations is piling up in Thailand since China stopped accepting it in 2017.

PHOTO: Electronic waste from western nations is piling up in Thailand since China stopped accepting it in 2017. Photo Credit: ABC

What are the hazardous materials in electronics?

Just to name a few, the average collection of e-waste contains:

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Mercury
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nickel
  • Arsenic.

When rained on, these materials can easily seep into the ground and local waterways. And with relatively minimal contact, these materials can render essential drinking water irreversibly corrupted.

What Happens to Recycled Electronics

What should happen to Australia’s growing e-waste problem?

Turning to a responsible domestic service can ensure our local e-waste doesn’t contribute to the e-waste dumping in China, Thailand, and other parts of Asia. Shred-X can securely dismantle all electrical goods and ensure its stored information cannot be feasibly recovered or compromised. From there, the potentially harmful or recyclable components will be dealt with by one of our trusted local recycling partners.

What e-waste products can be recycled?

Almost all products classified as e-waste have components that can be recycled. You can generally recycle a majority of:

If you’d prefer to recycle your e-waste instead of risking them ending up polluting Thailand, chat to the friendly team at Shred-X about our e-waste recycling services.

What To Do With Hazardous Electrical Waste Around The Home

With a few simple steps, you can help prevent e-waste in Thailand from growing out of control.

  • Start by deciding whether electrical goods are needed around the house anymore
  • Work out whether it’s in working order or not
    • If it still works, consider donating or selling the item, and stemming our need for new electronics
    • If it isn’t working, consider if the product still has any value (certain components of computers or devices could be worth more than you’d think)
  • If an item is no longer needed, doesn’t have value and is no longer in working order, consider engaging a local recycling partner who can control the hazardous materials in electronics.

Find out more about e-waste recycling with Shred-X.