Disposing of e-waste safely and securely
Disposing of e-waste safely and securely is important for general practices, as it is for individuals and business.
Many of the materials that make up electronic technology can be recycled for other uses.
E-waste is the term given to discarded electrical and electronic technologies; it includes, but is not limited to computers, laptops and tablets. Such equipment may or may not be in working order.
With technology constantly being upgraded, disposal of outdated electronic equipment is occurring frequently.
E-waste has accumulated at such a rapid rate that it has become the fastest growing form of waste in Australia.
Effective solutions for e-waste in your practiceincludes methods of recycling and disposing of various e-waste, including the safe removal of patient data.
Amandeep: So we do throw out a lot of e-waste. Unfortunately, we're replacing things at such a rapid pace - I think we've got 200,000 tons of e-waste every year that we're throwing out. So e-waste is any of our electronic devices. It's laptops, computers, faxes, televisions, smartphones, tablets, all of that that carries information on it that we throw out, is considered e-waste. So we need to be careful about how we dispose of these devices because they do contain patient information and we have obligations around privacy and confidentiality to make sure that we're not throwing out patient information, and it might fall into the wrong hands.
So there's one side of it around making sure that we're not inadvertently exposing our patient information to other parties, but there's also another part around the environmental concerns of throwing out some of these devices. They can be toxic to the environment because they release chemicals which are damaging and we need to make sure that we're not throwing it out with a general rubbish. So there are specific places where you can dispose of e-waste and there's resources on the RACGP website, which will go through - depending on what you're throwing out - some of those processes, some of those locations where you can actually go, or organizations you can contact to help you get rid of unwanted items.
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