Electronic waste, or e-waste, is any item with a plug, battery or cord. Big or small, from a fridge through to a watch, a guitar or a sewing machine, these are all e-waste. And when they stop working or you upgrade to the newest model, they need to be disposed of differently to normal rubbish.

Approximately 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is produced each year, with about 700,000 tonnes of it coming from Australia. The average Australian household generates 73kg a year. That’s the equivalent of a washing machine a year from each house.

For individuals, we usually just put these out with the rest of our rubbish and hope for the best. This is dangerous for numerous reasons, namely because e-waste contains potentially harmful materials which can leak out and cause environmental damage. Many local councils can provide e-waste collection, while organisations such as Planet Ark and 1800ewaste provide recycling options.

For many companies, this is an ongoing issue as they experience pressure to not only be environmentally friendly, but also keep up with the ever-expanding technical revolution. While recycling is seen as the best course of action, allowing the precious resources used in technology to be re-used, businesses also have to consider their data security.

Due to the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme it’s vital for businesses to dispose of e-waste in a safe and secure manner. As e-waste can hold confidential information, businesses need to treat the disposal of this with an added layer of care. This isn’t to say you should just sit on your e-waste and hope the problem solves itself.

So, what are you to do? First, don’t panic. Get your team involved and gather your e-waste. Whether it’s unused computer screens, phones that stopped working years ago or some USBs that still have your old logo, get them all together.

You can find data deletion services or software online to ensure everything is wiped clean. These don’t offer certificates of destruction, so it’s best to contact professionals to avoid data breaches. Once your e-waste has been cleaned, you can organise for your items to be recycled though the above services.

Alternatively, for complete peace of mind, contact the professionals at Grace Information Management. Our experienced consultants will discuss your needs in detail to develop a solution tailored to your business. We’ll manage the safe and secure destruction of your e-waste, ensuring your confidential information is projected and items are recycled for sustainable re-use.