Australia's giant e-waste recycling centre: Photos

Australia's giant e-waste recycling centre: Photos

Summary: The largest e-waste recycling centre in the southern hemisphere was opened this week in Sydney's Villawood amid controversy over the Federal Government's refusal to commit to a mandatory e-waste recycling policy.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

 |  Image 2 of 9

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Electronic waste, or e-waste, includes electronic goods such as phones, televisions, stereos, computers and printers. E-waste is world's fastest growing form of garbage.

    The plant, which was opened by Sim's Recycling Solutions, a subsidiary of Sims Metal Management, has the capacity to process about 20,000 tons of e-waste every year. However, even at full capacity this is only a faction of the 120,000 to 140,000 tons of e-waste produced by Australians every year. Sims estimates that it is growing 3-5 times faster than other waste streams and only four per cent of Australia's e-waste is recycled.

    Photo credits: Alex Serpo,

  • The Sims plant was opened by former Australian rocker and Minster for Environment Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett.

    Garrett was drilled by the press on whether the Federal Labour Government intends to make the recycling of e-waste mandatory, however he did not directly take a stance on the issue. He said: "What I want to do is look at the best measures we can agree with states and also local councils to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill."

    "The Commonwealth has signalled its intention to develop a national waste policy," he said. However the Minister did not give any time frame.

  • "Everywhere else where we operate, to varying degrees, there is a legislative framework, which by and large ... [creates] a significant degree of producer responsibility," said Jeremy Sutcliff, Sim's executive director (pictured) in an interview after his speech. "That comes at a cost, and the cost may or may not come back to the consumer."

    By everywhere else, Sutcliffe was referring to the EU, many states of the US, Japan and Korea, where recycling of e-waste is in "excess of 80 per cent".

    "There is a significant business risk in this plant, in so far as if Australia doesn't legislate, that will not generate the flows of materials to make it a low cost operation," he said.

    "I'm in part putting financial pressure on the government. They have written all these reports, and nothing happened. We have put the plant in, now [the government] has got no excuse, something has got to happen. "

Topic: Emerging Tech

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • e-waste cash instead of handouts

    Surely it's about time for action on policy for managing e-waste effectively. Perhaps a better way to splash around the cash, than stimulus handouts, would be to support research and development in a new industry - re-use, recycling and extraction of precious materials from e-waste.
  • Consolidated Risk

    How nice and considerate - for the hackers and social engineers and information thieves.

    Talk about making it easy for them to find some good information from all the high profile customers the centre will have.

    Might try and get a job.
  • Environmental impact

    well done this is a great thing....e waste contaminates land fill and cloggs up garages all over the country.

    If you are concerned about people accessing your old hard drives...remove it from the pc and recycle the rest of it or put it in the microwave for 30 seconds before you send it off to be recycled!!!
  • Hi
    How can i talk with this factory manager?
  • Do you recycle the screens?
    If you do how do youo do it
    Debbie Webber