Frequently asked questions
WHAT'S HAPPENING with BRIGHT SPARKS?
The short version:
The pilot finished in April 2016 and was far more popular than we anticipated, which also made it more expensive to run. We're currently working on Bright Sparks 2.0, and we need space (800+ square metres) and funding to get started. The quicker we can sort out space and funding, the quicker we can roll out Bright Sparks 2.0.
YOUR WEBSITE SAYS YOU'RE NO LONGER TAKING DONATIONS OR REPAIRS. WILL YOU PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE TAKE MY APPLIANCES?
MY APPLIANCE is broken. WHERE CAN I GET IT REPAIRED?
For best results head to Google, enter the item type and add the words 'repair' and 'Melbourne' to your search, e.g. toaster repair Melbourne. This works for all kinds of things, not just electrical items.
For audio speaker repairs, try Total Recoil in Thornbury.
For other audio equipment, try Electronics Repair Shop or Round Again in Coburg.
For microwaves, televisions and other home entertainment devices, try The Video People in Ringwood.
For computer repairs, try Geeks2U.
If you know the manufacturer of your appliance, you can contact them directly and ask for a referral to an authorised repairer. (Manufacturers often list this information on their websites.)
Note: we did not keep any spare parts from the pilot - everything that wasn't reused or repaired was recycled. We've occasionally had luck finding spare parts on eBay. If you know the name and model number of the part you're after, that will help you in your search. (This information can often be found in the instruction manual.)
What can I do with my unwanted appliances?
If your appliances work and are in good condition: reuse is the most environmentally friendly option. Try selling or giving them away on eBay, Gumtree, Ziilch, Facebook groups or garage sales. The Eastern Emergency Relief Network accepts whitegoods and small appliances in working order.
NOTE: If in doubt whether your local charity accepts electrical items, ask, or check their website! We can't stress this part enough --> If you sneakily donate a small appliance to a charity that doesn't accept them, it will most likely end up in landfill, and the charity will have to pay to dispose of it. If you donate a broken small appliance to a charity, it will most likely end up in landfill, and the charity will have to pay to dispose of it.
If your appliances are broken: get them professionally repaired. See the previous question for details.
If items are damaged, unrepairable or obsolete: recycle them. This is easier said than done! Electrical items are complex and dangerous to break down, and can't be recycled in the normal recycling bin. These are a few options:
- TVs, computers, printers and computer accessories (mice, keyboards, etc.): visit Recycling Near You to find your nearest drop-off point.
- Inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges and toner bottles can be recycled through the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program.
- Mobile phones: visit Mobile Muster for drop-off locations or to print a prepaid mailing label and send your phones by post.
- Batteries can be recycled in a number of locations including Battery World and Aldi stores. Visit the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative site or Recycling Near You for details.
- For collection, refurbishment and recycling of fridges and whitegoods we recommend Brotherhood Fridges and Kids off the Kerb.
Are you still accepting financial donations?
Gladly! Visit our Donate page for details.
I WANT TO DO A STUDENT PROJECT ON BRIGHT SPARKS. HOW DO I START?
Awesome! We'd love to work with students and get them involved in future. Please note that we are not currently trading (see above) and cannot assist you with reusing, repairing or recycling e-waste - only sharing information or developing future proejcts. If you're a student or education professional and want to discuss a project, get in touch.
P.S. If Erin was a student right now, she would be trying to set up an electronics-repair workshop at her school like these girls in the United States.