How electrical recycling works

Electrical recycling near me

It starts with you

When you recycle your old electricals, you’re giving a new lease of life to a whole range of valuable materials.

How Recycling Works Youtube Thumbnail of Hypnocat


Humans! Do you know how electricals are recycled?

I am HypnoCat. Gaze into my eyes and I will show you how your old electricals and electronics change into shiny new objects.

You will remember everything.

How electrical recycling works

From recycling centre to new product.

Lumps of silver, bronze, and gold on a bright blue background.

New life for old electricals

Our unwanted electricals contain valuable materials including plastics and metals such as gold, copper, steel and aluminium.

Light skinned young woman sorts cables at waste centre, wearing gloves against a bright blue background.

Breaking it down

From your recycling point, old electricals go to a reprocessing plant, where people sort and break them apart by hand. Then machines shred the materials.

Digger picks up recycled metals against a bright blue background.


Magnets separate steel and other ferrous metals, and electrical currents remove other metals. Plastic is also sorted into different types and ground up.

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Back to market

Recovered metals and plastics become valuable commodities to the UK economy. They’re sold on the open market and can become new products – from bicycles to life-saving equipment.

Close up shot of two lumps of gold on a shiny gold surface.


Do old electricals just go to developing countries?

If you recycle your old electricals in the right way, almost all the materials get processed in the UK and become a valuable UK commodity. Our electrical recycling locator shows you where to recycle old electricals to ensure this happens.

a close up of a gold olympic medal with the five rings

Transforming waste into national pride

Japan spent two years collecting small old electricals from all over the country ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. 80,000 tonnes of old electricals, previously regarded as waste, are being turned into 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals for Olympians and Paralympians to wear with pride.

Find your nearest recycling point