"We wanted to choose a project that would make a net positive impact on the planet and do good things as its core business. We decided to build our business around solving the e-waste problem."
Michael Coghill, Co-founder.
Why tackle E-waste?
It was James and Michael Coghill’s entrepreneurial spirt and enthusiasm to start a business that would have a positive impact on the planet that saw them, while still at university, set up Total Green Recycling (TGR) in 2008.
They used to pick up things from the side of the road to supplement their incomes. Surprised by the sheer volume of electronic goods left on verges for council pick-up, they saw an opportunity to tackle a growing waste problem and increase the recycling-rates of resource-rich e-waste.
In 2008 the average e-waste generation rate per capita in Australia was 7kg per person per year, today it’s around three times as much! But thanks to TGR Western Australians are able to divert a lot of this from landfill now.
Did you know?
Western Australians produce around 25kg of electronic waste every year…and e-waste is growing at three times the rate of general household waste in WA!
What are they doing?
TGR collects e-waste from across the state. With multiple drop-off points around WA, TGR recycle television, computer or IT equipment FREE of charge. The team also collects e-waste from businesses large and small, recycles servers, switches, routers and cables and can decommission IT assets to enable safe disposal.
They recover precious materials from the devices. TGR is the first and only company in WA to separate CRT glass into leaded and unleaded glass:
- 60% (non-leaded glass) – crushed and mixed into cement and used as roadbase;
- 40% (leaded glass) – shipped to Nyrstar Port Pirie Lead Smelter for lead recovery.
And they recycle more than 200 tonnes of electronics each month. That’s more than 2,000 tonnes of e-waste being diverted from landfill each year.
They provide meaningful green jobs. Having partnered with Rocky Bay employment services, Maxima and the Autism Association, TGR is providing sustainable green jobs for the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities and technology displaced workers:
- 10 people are employed full-time to refurbish more than 2,000 computers and electronic devices each month; and
- 60,000 devices have been re-used over the past six years.
TGR offer a data destruction service. They run an IT asset recovery operation – recovering, testing and erasing data on devices to enable those that are still functional to be safely re-used. A mobile device data erasing, testing and refurbishment service is also provided – wiping the private data from old devices so they can be given a new lease on life with a new owner.
Did you know: More than 1/3 of the 140,000+ tonnes of TVs and computers that reach the end of their life each year go to landfill.
What impact is TGR making?
14,000 tonnes of electronics recycled between 2008 and 2018 – that’s about 200 tonnes a month.
3 tonnes of e-waste are processed per hour – with a recovery rate of 95% at TGR’s AS/NZS accredited e-waste recycling facility.
TGR is the largest e-recycler in WA – processing over 80% of the electronics collected and recycled in the state through the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (which TGR helped develop!).
What does the future hold for TGR?
"Total Green Recycling is advocating for a ban on e-waste going to landfill and has a goal of recycling 100% of the main sources of e-waste by 2020."
James Coghill, Co-founder.
By 2020 TGR aims to recycle 100% of the main sources of e-waste in the state. The Coghills are front and centre advocating for a ban on e-waste going to landfill.
TGR are doing their bit and helping us all to do our bit too. TGR are looking at rolling out a new initiative in 2019 – Clean Up 2 Green Up – which will see TGR offer healthy green office plants to their office computer recycling customers.
How can YOU get on board?
There’s no doubt we love our tech and most of us have lots of gadgets and devices that we find indispensable. Before when it was time to upgrade or replace our old tablets, computers, TVs and other electronic goods they frequently wound up in landfill – now there are much better options!
- Never throw e-waste in your general waste bin – keeping it out of landfill should be a top priority!
- Replace only when you need to, and if you can, choose second hand. If you’re replacing an item that still has life in it, why not consider selling it or gifting it to someone else.
- When it is time to replace or upgrade your tech, find a collection point such as those offered by TGR or Mobile Muster, or through your local council’s collection where they can be recycled FREE of charge!
- Want to know more? Follow these steps to reduce your e-waste around the home.