Planet Green Schools Program


E-Waste - A Growing Problem…


  • A staggering 17 million televisions were either in landfill or sent to landfill in 2008.
  • 99% of Australian households have at least one television set, while 55% have a second set.
  • In 2008, three million televisions were imported into Australia – double the level in 2002.
  • Australians purchase around one million new televisions each year, with an estimated 1.5 million sets sent to landfill each year.
  • This number is set to dramatically increase with the national switch to digital television by 2013
Electronic waste in Australia is currently growing at over three times the rate of general municipal waste. I Computers and televisions are a growing component of this problem.


  • 37 million computers were either already in landfill or sent to landfill sites in Australia in 2008.
  • Every year Australians purchase over 2.4 million new personal computers.
  • Currently, only around 1.5% of computers are recycled.
  • Around 69% of Australia’s obsolete computer equipment is held in storage, awaiting disposal.v With only 1.5% of computers currently being recycled, there is a strong probability that most of this obsolete equipment will end up in landfill.
  • Product Stewardship Australia predicts that many consumers will use the switch to digital broadcasting as a reason to replace their analogue televisions with new digital sets – despite the fact that analogue cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions can receive digital broadcasts with a set-top box. As a consequence, it is predicted that large numbers of CRT televisions will be discarded


  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are around five million printers and two million scanners in use in households and businesses across Australia.
  • This equipment has a short lifespan, meaning that most will be disposed of within two years or stockpiled for later disposal.

Printer Cartridges

  • Between 2,179,000 and 8,715,000 printer cartridges are disposed of each year.


  • It is estimated that in 2001 alone, over 12,000 km of internal personal computer cabling and more than 25,000 km of input/output cables entered the waste stream.
  • This is in addition to over 18,000 km of internal and more than 36,000 km of input/output cabling potentially in storage.

Estimates of personal computers disposed of in Australia

Disposal Option 2001 2006 2011
Recycled 281,700 494,000 509,600
Landfill 926,500 1,632,800 1,694,700
Sent to Storage 1,331,00 1,792,800 1,839,800
Already in Storage 3,618,200 5,260,400 5,479,700