Find a bag or box that you can use to store your unwanted headphones along with other old electrical gadgets until you can go to the recycling centre – or until collection day if you have one.
Pick the option that suits you. Or mix it up.
Thousands of stores across the UK will now recycle your old headphones or earbuds for you when you buy new ones from them. Some retailers take back all old electricals for recycling or refurbishment, even if you’re not buying something new. #zerowaste
Some councils collect electricals for recycling – either with your regular waste collection or by special arrangement. Contact your council or check their website to find out. Use our recycling locator.
Household waste and recycling centres have drop-off points for electricals and batteries. Some also have an area where you can leave items to be refurbished and passed on – maybe your headphones could get an encore with a new listener.
Some supermarkets, car parks and designated roadside areas have electrical recycling bins. These are great for smaller items like headphones, earbuds and the wires that go with them.
That’s how many pairs of earphones and headphones were shipped worldwide in 2021 – nearly double the figure in 2013.
Like anything with a plug, battery or cable, headphones can be recycled at the end of their useful life – let’s make sure they are.
A 2017 survey found that over a quarter of headphone users in the US owned at least three, and sometimes as many as five, pairs of headphones.
Of course there are different types of headphones for different uses – bluetooth headphones, wireless headphones, wired headphones, on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, in-ear headphones, sports headphones, gaming headsets, headphones for music production, headphones for pilots and deep sea divers. We could go on. But let’s be honest, many of us probably have at least one pair sitting quietly in that drawer of tangled wires, cables, adaptors, chargers and other electrical thingamajigs that we haven’t quite got around to sorting out. Well, now’s the time – and it’s never been easier.
Find out where to recycle all your unwanted headphones and other electricals.Recycling locator
Put in your postcode to find recycling and reuse centres near you