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Taking e-waste to a better place

The challenge: 
Understanding why householders and SMEs may (or may not) take their e-waste to an appropriate recycling centre 

Partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning with Sustainability Victoria

Year: 2017/18

To support the implementation of a landfill ban in Victoria on unwanted electronic and electrical items, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, working in collaboration with Sustainability Victoria, sought to understand why householders and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) may – or may not – take their e-waste to local transfer stations for recycling.

BehaviourWorks began by undertaking a ‘Deep Dive’ investigation, surveying householders and SMEs in metro and regional Victoria to identify beliefs, intentions and behaviours around e-waste recycling.


What did we find?

The findings suggest that a lack of knowledge was a major hurdle to changing e-waste recycling behaviours, with many survey participants indicating that they didn’t understand what the term ‘e-waste’ meant, nor what could be done with it and where local transfer stations for recycling were located.

The research revealed that people are more likely to take e-waste to transfer stations if they think it will result in good environmental and social outcomes, know what e-waste can be taken where (and when), and are able to access transfer stations easily.

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They are also more likely to act if they think that influential others will approve of their behaviour and trust that their e-waste will actually be recycled.

The insights were used to inform a communication and education campaign to build basic knowledge around e-waste recycling and prepare the Victorian community for the forthcoming landfill ban on e-waste, due to be implemented on 1 July, 2019. 

At the same time, the Victorian Government has started improving systems and infrastructure to make it easier for Victorians to “take their e-waste to a better place”.