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Campus e-Waste Initiative


Do you have old, written-off computers, monitors and batteries lying around or clogging up cupboards? And you are concerned enough not to simply consign them to the dump?

Now there is a responsible campus solution. The IT Division has implemented a temporary e-waste depot on campus where e-waste will be aggregated for free pickup and disposal by contractors who specialise in the refurbishment, reuse and safe disposal of e-waste.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Ensure that the items have been properly written off and dealt with in line with the University’s policy regarding the handling of redundant assets.
  2. Send an email to help@sun.ac.za or call the IT Service Desk on 021-8084367 to request removal of the items.
  3. IT will pick up the items free of charge (Main campus only, satellite campuses must deliver e-waste to IT) and arrange for their safe disposal with the contractors, who also provide their services for free and do not pay for the items.

What is e-Waste?

Electronic waste (e-waste) or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are the terms used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded appliances using electricity. It includes computers, consumer electronics, etc. which have been disposed of by their original users. It can also include batteries.

E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and a number of other substances which are harmful to human health and ecosystems if not disposed of properly. The unsustainably rapid turnover of discarded electronics and computer technology is another reason for the need to recycle – or even better, re-use – e-waste.

More information: www.ewasa.org

What will happen to the e-Waste?


The contractors will separate the waste into items that

  • can be refurbished,
  • can be recycled and
  • must be safely disposed of.

Refurbishment of appliances and computers provides jobs and these items are then reused in needy schools and communities. Useful, scarce and valuable metals and other substances are extracted by recycling, while toxic e-waste is disposed of in special hazardous waste facilities. Examples of potentially toxic items include the old type of computer screens (CRT) and fluorescent tubes.



Some fast facts

Currently the University purchases on average 500 new computers per annum (without significant growth in inventory), implying that the annual e-waste stream is of a similar magnitude. At any one time 8000 PCs exist on campus, with up to 5000 more in student residences. If one considers that PCs are usually replaced on a 4 to 5-year cycle, the resulting e-waste stream could in fact be far larger.

The IT Division’s TAS division alone disposes of 300-400 lead acid batteries per annum.

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10 Responses to “Campus e-Waste Initiative”

  1. magriet says:

    will this also be for personal computers at home that never had an asset number?

  2. Ralph Pina says:

    Yes, IT will handle private devices for now, but review it if the volumes become onerous. IT will not do pick ups for private e-waste though!

  3. Rob says:


    I see e-waste is anything that uses electricity. Does this mean you will handle all old lab and teaching equipment (mainly electronic in nature) as well?

  4. Ralph Pina says:

    Yes Rob, except that IT cannot dismantle or pick it up. It needs to be delivered to the e-waste depot.

  5. Sven says:

    The article mentions lead acid batteries? Can we dispose of ordinary alkaline batteries and rechargable batteries through campus e-waste?

  6. Ralph Pina says:

    Yes, Sven. We will ensure that it get to the right place, whether via the contractor or other collection points.

  7. Irene says:

    I have old cd players, and radios lying around that are taking up a lot of space in my room. Can I also deposit these items at the e-waste place? Where is the deposit place?

  8. Ralph Pina says:

    Yes – please contact the IT Helpline 0218084367 or email ithelp AT sun dot ac dot za to arrange a dropoff. The depot is on Stellenbosch campus.

  9. RUaan says:

    If IT does not collect personal e-waste, where can I drop it off?

  10. Michele says:

    Is there a drop-off point at Tygerberg campus?
    Is it in the corridor in front of the IT Department on first floor?
    If yes, can one drop off an old private PC box there or does one have to have permission first?
    Would the IT Department be interested in parts e.g. RAM or power supply? Sometimes an old PC is maybe written off because the power supply is not available anymore, but the PC would otherwise serve well another year or three.

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