Electricals: stop hoarding – start recycling


Got boxes or drawers of old smart phones, cables and other tech that you no longer use? Tim Rabjohns, digital manager for the ‘Recycle Your Electricals’ national campaign (and long-time TTL mover and shaker), explains how easy (and important) it is to get recycling instead.

Discarded unwanted electricals are the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, and the UK is no exception. We buy more and more tech every day, but if we don’t recycle the old stuff we no longer want, use or need, what happens to it? Too often it goes to waste. Literally. If we don’t re-use or recycle our old electricals properly, we lose the precious resources within them forever – which means more has to be mined to replace them.


What can we recycle?

The good news is that everything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. Better yet, electricals contain some of the most valuable resources on the planet (like gold, copper, aluminium and titanium). These can be recycled and transformed into anything from children’s playgrounds to life-saving equipment.

The Recycle Your Electricals campaign was launched with one goal – to stop the UK throwing away or hoarding small old electricals. The new website has a Recycling Locator, which now offers information on 3,000 reuse and recycling points.


What’s happening to household tech?

Research conducted as part of the Recycle Your Electricals campaign examined the barriers to reusing and recycling electricals. It discovered that 155,000 tonnes of waste electricals are thrown away in general household waste each year and 527 million unwanted electrical items are hoarded in UK homes.

Over 50% of people who bin their old electricals claim they do so because they don’t know where or how to recycle them.  The Recycle Your Electricals campaign wants to change that and spread the word so that everyone in the UK knows how and where they can recycle their electricals. Because the sooner we get the recycling message across, the sooner we can stop precious materials from unwanted electricals being lost forever.


Keen to join in?

  • Find your local reuse or recycling point
  • Follow the ‘Recycle your Electricals’ campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and share its posts from your channels. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #RecycleYourElectricals on any posts of your own so the campaign can see and share them
  • Partner with the campaign to help increase reuse and recycling of electricals in your area. Email hello@materialfocus.org.uk to find out more.


E-waste – the facts

  • The UK discards 155,000 tonnes of electricals every year – instead of reusing or recycling
  • The second-hand value of electricals being hoarded in UK homes is £17 billion
  • 75% of materials in old electricals can be recycled.

Learn more at www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk



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