Kate has designs on her old electricals

Interiors expert gets behind Give-Back January.

Journalist Kate Watson-Smyth was taken aback to learn about the enormous amounts of unwanted electricals hiding away in homes across the UK. “Staggering” was her word for it when she learned from Recycle Your Electricals that some 31 million laptops, for example, are “sitting in houses doing nothing”.

Kate is an interior design consultant and co-host of the Great Indoors podcast. So she naturally sets great store by the look and feel of her home. That home has featured in Living Etc, HeartHome, The Wall Street Journal and Corriere della Sera.

“I would sum it up like this: something old, something new, something black, something gold. And always some natural wood. I like to call it Urban Glamour. You may prefer Modern Rustic.”

“I discovered the box full of old cables, an obsolete playstation box, an unused speaker. And yet more cables”

Imagine Kate’s shock, then, when she discovered rather more old stuff than she’d been expecting. An unplanned, unglamorous tangle of old electricals hidden away in this lovingly cared-for home.

She learned about Give-Back January. This is the campaign to encourage more people to donate unwanted electricals to good causes. Kate imagined she would struggle to come up with any old gear. “I was worried I didn’t have any. I routinely send old phones back to be recycled and we don’t really have anything that’s broken.”

Cable guy

“Then I decided to clear out a cupboard in my office, now being done up for the 17-year-old. There I discovered the box. The box that is full of old cables, and an obsolete playstation box and its controllers. And an unused speaker. And yet more cables.”

Learning that there are enough cables in UK homes to go round the Earth five times over, Kate said: “I think it’s possible that half of those were in my cupboard.”

Find out what Kate did next: jump across to her award-winning Mad About the House blog – then check out our tips on donating your unwanted electricals to charity.
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