End of life

Disposing of old and unused equipment is an opportunity to continue sustainable management practices. The first consideration is to establish if the product can be reused. Reuse has the lowest environmental impact as it extends the life of the item.  

If it cannot be reused, can it be recycled?  If it cannot be recycled, how can it be safely disposed of? If the product is designed for dis-assembly then it may have a new life as a different product or if it compostable it can return to the ecosystem. Electrical equipment can be recycled to reuse important rare earth metals. Paper can be recycled to make new paper.

When establishing your product selection criteria it is important to understand the product's end-of-life and any manufacturer take-back options available. There is a movement to shift responsibility for spent products and packaging to the producers who design, make and sell them. The terms "product stewardship" and "extended producer responsibility" are used describe these activities. Operational leasing enables you to return products when you’ve finished with them – a form of take-back.  

If it cannot be reused or recycled, then it may not be the right product for you.  

The Trends, Tools and Tips in Waste Management Page provides disposal and recycling options for a range of products.


Related resources

Beginner's Guide to Sustainable Procurement

Beginner's Guide to Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement is the process of reviewing the items and services that your office purchases and selecting ones with lower environmental impact.

Top tips for working paper free

Hear from one City of Sydney green champion about how she approached the challenge of going paper-free in the office including useful apps and other resources.


Lamp recycling can help reduce the amount of mercury being sent to landfill. FluoroCycle is a voluntary product stewardship scheme that seeks to increase the national recycling rate of waste mercury-containing lamps.

USA Sustainable Procurement Policies

A collection of ten real Sustainable Procurement Policies from USA state administrations, complied by California's Buy Recycled program. 

Sustainable Procurement of Services Guide (AUS)

Detailed information about the sustainability issues to consider when procuring services, such as financial, best practice performance criteria that can be used in approaches to market and possible contract requirements. Produced by the Australian Government.

Sustainable Procurement Guide (Australian Government)

Guide for Australian Government purchasers to include sustainability considerations in all stages of the procurement process, from identifying the business need to disposing of goods. Commissioned by the Australian Government and developed by ECO-buy.

Television and Computer Recycling Scheme

The Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations 2011 is the regulation to support national, industry-led recycling scheme for televisions and computers, by the Australian Government. This page hosts guides and information.

Environmental Procurement Policy

Victoria's environmental procurement policy declaration, strategies, and help guides.

End of life

Disposing of old and un-used equipment is an opportunity to continue sustainable management practices.


Search resources

Latest Case Studies