In this article we look at what kinds of electricals you can donate, which charity shops accept them and which charity shops collect from you. If you want to go straight to our list of charity shops that accept and collect electricals, jump ahead.
Otherwise, read on for some quick tips on why and how to donate your unwanted electricals.
Whether you’re having a major clear-out or simply want to get rid of the odd gadget, you have a few options – all of which trump the rubbish bin.
Anything with a plug, battery or cable that is beyond use or repair can be recycled. Check the recycling locator to find your nearest recycling point.
But first you might check whether you could repair and reuse your electrical products yourself.
Failing that, could you sell your electricals for some extra cash?
Or – and this is our theme here – if you’d prefer to see your old items go to a good cause, we’ll help you find out which charities will take electrical goods, what they will accept, and whether they might even collect electrical items from your door.
The short answer is yes, many do. While not all charity shops will take all types of electrical goods, you shouldn’t have to go far to find one that will welcome your old electricals.
From healthcare, to anti-poverty to animal rescue charities and organisations that redistribute donated devices to people who need them, the non-profit sector should be top of your list when you’re looking to declutter your electrical life. Some charity shops are well set up to collect from your home – electricals included.
That’s because there is huge hidden value in the mountains of electrical gadgets, smart devices, toys, household appliances, entertainment gear, leisure equipment and tools that are tucked away unused in homes across the UK. Our research has shown that there are some 527 million unwanted electrical items in our homes and that we throw away 155,000 tonnes a year, costing the UK economy £370 million.
Charities have realised this and many are now geared up to sell, pass on, or dispose of electricals in ways that get decent value from them. So if items really can’t be reused, the fact is that anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. That means the precious materials they contain can be remanufactured into new products – from bicycles and playground swings to life-saving defibrillators.
It’s far better for all of us, the economy and the environment to make use of those unwanted electricals than let them gather dust in a cupboard. You probably want the space, too.
Bear in mind that not all charities accept electricals and of those that do, some are more selective than others. But with the following tips, you should have no problem finding a charity that will take your electricals, and even one that will collect from you.
Let’s start with the condition of electricals. If you wish to donate electricals to charity so that they can re-sell them, make sure all your donations are clean and usable. As one charity puts it, “If you wouldn’t buy it then we probably won’t be able to sell it.”
Here are some other things that will make your electricals more desirable:
And if your unwanted items fit some of the following categories, it’s more likely that a charity near you will welcome them:
You’ll notice that this list doesn’t include bulkier electrical items such as fridges, washing machines or televisions. That’s not to say there are no charities that will take the bigger electrical products – there are; it’s simply to stress that small electricals in decent condition are more likely to be accepted at a charity shop near you.
There are also some types of electrical goods that, for understandable reasons, seem less welcome among charity shops. These include second-hand medical equipment, sunbeds and electric blankets. You might need to consider repairing or recycling these.
What we’re definitely not recommending is that you can rock up to any old charity shop with a box of preloved electricals expecting to be able to hand them all over. And you should certainly resist the urge to leave the contents of your gadget cupboard on your local charity’s doorstep (unless they explicitly ask you to do that). It may be well-intentioned but it’s probably going to create a headache for the charity.
All it really takes is a little bit of research – and to set you on your way, we’ve made a start for you.
Here, in alphabetical order, are some major charities – and a few smaller ones – that might make sure your unwanted electricals are put to good use.
The children’s hospice charity runs more than 50 shops across Birmingham and the West Midlands that take small electricals boxed as-new or in good working condition. Find a local Acorns store where you can donate your electricals.
The older people’s charity says its larger shops that accept furniture may also take electricals. In 2020 there were 18 such stores in England and Wales, from Barnstaple in Devon to Winsford in Cheshire. Contact an Age UK shop near you.
British Heart Foundation takes a wide range of electrical items for resale, including gadgets such as consoles, tablets and laptops, and even bulky items such as fridges, TVs and washing machines. The BHF website helpfully lists the items they can’t take. BHF is also one of the charity shops that collects – arrange that via the BHF website too.
The charity’s shops across the country will take electricals, excluding white goods such as washing machines and fridges and damaged or broken toys. Check with your local Cancer Research UK store before paying them a visit. If you’re a business, talk to them about arranging a collection.
This London-based charity accepts mobile phones, cameras, and gadgets including sat-navs, MP3 players, and games consoles. Find out more about ChildAid to Eastern Europe.
“One person’s junk is another’s treasure”, says the skin health charity, which operates more than 100 charity shops across the UK. DEBRA’s furniture and electrical stores offer free collection of large donated items within a 15 mile range. Contact a store to arrange a collection or book one online.
The homlessness charity takes mainly donated furniture, but also some electricals, to redistribute to people who need them. They will also collect larger items by arrangement. Check with your nearest branch.
This London-based charity supporting families in Romania accepts a range of electricals excluding large, non-flat screen TVs, computer hard drives, white goods and electric blankets. Contact FARA shops directly before donating large items.
This children’s charity, based in London, welcomes donations of unwanted TVs and computers. They are another charity that will collect – in this case even a single laptop. Contact Little Lives.
Accepts small electricals, and shops will collect from within a 20-mile radius (outside the London congestion zone). Contact Marie Curie about donating electrical goods.
The mental health charity’s shops in Alvaston in Derbyshire, and Hinckley in Leicestershire take donations of electrical and white goods. Some of Mind’s other shops also accept electricals – but check with your nearest Mind branch.
Many Oxfam shops take electrical goods – especially toys, games and mobile phones. Ask your nearest Oxfam branch before donating.
Welcomes new, boxed electrical items, cameras and multimedia devices. Contact your local Red Cross shop before you visit.
A growing number of the Salvation Army’s charity shops are able to test electrical items safely and so take them for resale. Call ahead to Salvation Army Trading to check if your nearest branch will accept electricals.
Accepts a range of electrical goods to redistribute or resell. They can’t take computers, mobile phones, electric showers and blankets, sunbeds, waste disposal units or white goods – but that still leaves plenty they will accept. Find your nearest Sue Ryder shop.
Takes a range of electrical goods – and some of Sense’s shops will collect from you.