Fiona discovers the easy way to recycle electricals

“I stick old electricals in a bag, stuff them in the loft, then take them to the recycling centre.”

Fiona, director of a fundraising consultancy, was already into recycling when she heard about the Recycle Your Electricals campaign in early 2020. But she was surprised to find out how easy it was to do more.

Q:  Were you aware that waste electricals are the fastest growing waste stream in the UK and the world?

Fiona: Not specifically, but I was aware that recycling electricals was sometimes hard to do – just not aware of the scale of the problem.

Q: How do you feel about the fact that 75% of electricals contain precious metals such as gold, aluminum, copper and plastic? 

Fiona: That’s a much higher proportion than I was expecting, and it definitely seems cost-effective to reclaim these metals from old items. 

Q: What do you do with your old electricals when you don’t use them anymore?

Fiona: I tend to stick them in a bag and stuff them in the loft, then take them to the recycling centre in Wandsworth, south London, as they have a section for small electrical items. I also collect old batteries and light bulbs in a pot under the sink as they have separate tub for those.

“Umpteen chargers”

Q: How many electricals do you think you have in your home?

Fiona: A lot more than I thought. There are obviously the ones that we use daily – alarm clock, radio, kettle, toaster, microwave, cooker, fridge freezer, tv, tv box, firestick, router, pc, laptop, ipads, mobile phones, fitness trackers.

Then there are the things you tend to forget about because they’re hidden in cupboards – like hoovers, iron, steam cleaner, pressure washer, several cameras, bike computer, kitchen scales, food processors, juicers, power tools etc. I reckon we have at least 10 unwanted electrical items. I gave up counting.

“I always think they might be useful for something, but know deep down that you never use them again.”

Q: What types of electricals do you hold on to?

Fiona: Computer, laptop, handheld tablet, three phones, a set of speakers, a single speaker, a tracker, GPS device. Umpteen chargers from every time you get a new phone.

I tend to hang on to things that still work or were high value, like laptops, cameras, ipads and phones – as it seems a shame to throw them out for recycling if they still function. I always think they might be useful for something, but know deep down that you never use them again.

I never quite know where they can be taken to be reused. I should probably just take them straight away to the recycling centre.

Q: What do you think was the most interesting thing about the Recycle Your Electricals campaign?

Fiona: I think the recycling locator – the directory of where to take things and what facilities they have – is very useful.

Also I was surprised that people wouldn’t think to recycle electricals – but then not everyone has a car to go to the recycling centre. So this campaign is great to raise awareness.

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