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Electronic items among most wasteful gifts, according to Victorian survey

New research has revealed that tech gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets are the most unwanted gifts in Victoria.

Commissioned by Sustainability Victoria, the research revealed that 28 per cent of people said these were the most unwanted items. This was followed closely by kitchen appliances (26 per cent) and beauty tools (24 per cent).

The research found that more than 53 per cent of Victorians receive at least one electronic item as a gift each year, with unwanted kitchen appliances resulting in the most electronic double-ups sitting at home unused.

Sixty per cent of Victorians have purchased an electronic gift for someone else at Christmas time, while 32 per cent have admitted to re-gifting unwanted electronic gifts.

Christmas time was found to be a major period for creating e-waste, with almost 30 per cent of Victorians admitting they have purchased electronic Christmas decorations for one-time use only, while more than 50 per cent have old electronic Christmas decorations such as lights and musical ornaments lying around gathering dust.

Sustainability Victoria’s director of communications and engagement Katie Pahlow said now was the time for Victorians to be mindful shoppers leading into the holiday season.

“With Christmas fast approaching, and everyone in the spirit of giving, we want to remind Victorians to be conscious consumers over the next couple of weeks,” she said.

“Before buying any new electronic item for yourself or someone else, think about whether that item is really needed or wanted. If it is, we encourage people to ‘buy once, buy well’, investing in a good quality product that will last a long time, consume less energy and save you money in the long run,” Pahlow said.

She explained that being a mindful shopper can help reduce the amount of waste we generate, and at the same time, minimise our impact on the environment.

In order to reduce e-waste going to landfill, the Victorian government banned e-waste from going to the tip. The ban was introduced on July 1, 2019 and it has been supported by a $15 million fund to upgrade the e-waste collection network across the state.

E-waste is growing three times faster than general waste in Australia, according to Sustainability Victoria. And, Australians are discarding more than 1 million mobile phones every year, as well as more than 100,000 tonnes of e-waste a year, the ban was put in place to recover valuable materials from this waste.

There were 500 Victorians surveyed for the research on unwanted gifts.