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Electronic waste (e-waste) is defined as waste in the form of electrical or electronic equipment, devices or things (or materials or parts of such equipment, devices or things), the operation of which is dependent on, or designed for the generation, transfer or measurement of, an electric current or electromagnetic field. In other words, this means is any device that has a plug, battery or power cord that is no longer working or wanted. It includes a range of items we use and discard from our homes and businesses, including televisions, computers, mobile phones, kitchen appliances, whitegoods, rechargeable batteries, and photovoltaic panels.

This information is about storing e-waste with due care to avoid leakages and hazardous substances being released into the air, water or soil, and minimising risks of fire.

Who this information is for

This information is for businesses that store e-waste before it is reprocessed. This includes local council transfer stations, resource recovery centres and other collection points for items like televisions, computers, mobile phones, batteries and lights.

Why you have to take action

The poor management of e-waste poses a hazard to the Victorian community and environment, particularly from:

  • air emissions
  • dust
  • ground contamination from e-waste liquid components
  • fire.

Risky e-waste stockpiling may also result in the increased likelihood of fire and soil contamination. As some persistent organic pollutants, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released as combustion by-products of e-waste, the consequences of fires at e-waste reprocessing facilities could be substantial.

The Victorian Government has banned e-waste from landfill in Victoria, effective 1 July 2019. You have to understand and control your risks to human health and the environment from that date.

What you need to do

Businesses that store e-waste must:

  • understand the risks of harm to human health and the environment posed by e-waste and communicate this to staff
  • store, transport and handle e-waste to eliminate or reduce risk of harm to human health and environment, including fire
  • separate and store e-waste away from other waste
  • provide e-waste to an appropriate collector or re-processor that complies with the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) (PDF)
  • keep records of e-waste movement to the primary re-processor
  • prevent breakage or spoilage of e-waste that might limit its suitability for reprocessing
  • only store e-waste for the purposes of transfer, recycling and reprocessing
  • take all reasonable steps to minimise how long e-waste under their control or in their possession is stored.

Storing and transporting e-waste

Where there is a risk, storing e-waste on an impermeable surface and protected from the weather, can help control dust particles and run-off being released that could contaminate land, surface water and groundwater.

Specified e-waste must be stored on an impermeable surface and protected from the weather.

According to the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017, ‘specified electronic waste’ means:

  • rechargeable batteries
  • cathode ray tube monitors and televisions
  • flat panel monitors and televisions
  • information technology and telecommunications equipment
  • lighting
  • photovoltaic panels.

All e-waste streams at your site should be assessed for risks to determine any necessary controls. For example, you may identify that bunding is required to manage the risk of ground contamination from e-waste liquid components, including heating and cooling equipment or batteries. See Liquid storage and handling guidelines (publication 1698) for more information about how to eliminate or reduce the risk of contaminating land, surface water and groundwater.

At a minimum, you need to ensure that e-waste loads are secure before transporting. You must also minimise damage or breakage. There are additional requirements for packing and transporting lithium batteries, see Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road & Rail.

Storage duration and managing stockpiles

E-waste should be transported to a compliant facility as soon as reasonably practical. See the Q&A about e-waste to ensure you enlist a reputable operator that will transfer your e-waste to a fully-accredited reprocessor.

As an e-waste service provider, you must only store e-waste for the purpose of transfer, recycling or reprocessing. You must also take all reasonable steps to minimise how long e-waste under your control or in your possession is stored.

You can demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to limit the time you have stored e-waste through, for example, receipts/invoices/certificates of destruction from a compliant e-waste recovery service or a contract with a compliant e-waste recovery service which shows the frequency of collection.

Keeping appropriate records

Good record keeping is important because it means you can track resource recovery from your site and better manage on-site volumes being stored.

Good record keeping for storing e-waste includes:

Origin

  • Name of e-waste generator/source.
  • Address of e-waste generator/source.

Transport

  • Name of transporter.
  • Address of transporter.
  • Vehicle registration numbers.

E-waste

  • Description of the waste type(s).
  • Amount of waste(s).
  • Determine hazards of e-waste for transport, and if required specify:
  • hazard category
  • contaminant(s)
  • UN number
  • UN class/code
  • dangerous goods class
  • packaging group number.

Specified e-waste

Specified e-waste poses greater risk to human health and the environment. For any specified e-waste transported, you must record:

  • date the specified e-waste is transported
  • name and address of the premises from and to which the specified e-waste is transported
  • description of the specified e-waste
  • quantity of the specified e-waste.

All required records must be kept for a minimum of five years.

There are a number of additional record keeping requirements for e-waste reprocessors. These are specified in the Waste Management Policy (E-waste) (PDF 133KB). Also see reprocessing e-waste for more information.

Controlling hazards and risks

Any person that is responsible for e-waste must assess the risks of harm to human health and the environment and take steps to eliminate or manage the risks.

Find out more about controlling hazards and risks.

Read next

Useful e-waste links and resources

Q&A about e-waste

Reprocessing e-waste

Controlling e-waste hazards and risks

 

This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 27 June 2019.

Reviewed 21 September 2020