This year, the main focus of International E-Waste Day, celebrated on Friday 14 October, was those small electrical devices that we no longer use but keep in drawers and cupboards or often toss in the general waste bin. Residents are encouraged to rather take any obsolete or broken devices to City drop-offs for proper disposal.
In recognition of the recently celebrated International E-waste Day, the City of Cape Town is encouraging all residents to go through their garage, cupboards and drawers and to take any old, broken or obsolete devices or chargers to one of our drop-off facilities for proper disposal.
Due to their small size, items such as cell phones, electric toothbrushes, toasters and cameras are often discarded incorrectly. Many initiatives worldwide are undertaken to tackle this growing concern, but none of them can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers.
Improper disposal of these products can create health risks. Electronic products contain several toxic substances. During salvage by the informal sector (as is common in South Africa), toxic residues can leak and contaminate the soil, air and water, affecting surrounding ecosystems where the local communities grow their food and fish.
The hazardous substances are also spread to other continents through the air and the sea, or they can affect the health of salvagers themselves when devices are burned or dissolved in acid without proper safety equipment to access components of value. If not salvaged, valuable raw materials are lost.
Residents can see which drop-off sites accept e-waste from a residential source here. Maps of the location of each site can also be accessed here. Residents can also find information on private companies that collect or purchase e-waste on our waste recyclers map. Finally, residents can make use of the household hazardous waste drop-offs at Athlone and Bellville Refuse Transfer Stations to dispose of up to 50kg of e-waste from a residential source per day.
Businesses also generate a huge amount of electronic waste and often don’t dispose of it correctly. If your business uses or produces e-waste, please take note of our disposal guidelines for e-waste from businesses.
The main e-waste service for businesses in the city is the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP), which helps businesses to develop symbiotic recycling systems for profitability and sustainability. Read more about their service offering on the GreenCape website.
‘It is crucial that residents are made aware of possible health risks and lost resources when appliances are disposed of incorrectly. Between government and the private sector a lot of work is being done to make the proper disposal of small e-waste simple and convenient for consumers,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.
To learn more about disposing of electronic waste, see eWASA, the e-Waste Association of South Africa: www.ewasa.org/
Source: City Of Cape Town