e-waste. The problem with throwing away old electricals

Discarded electricals are one of the fastest-growing sources of waste in the world – and the UK.

Hypnocat with bin Hypnocat with bin

What are the problems with electrical waste?

We discard 155,000 tonnes of electricals every year, instead of reusing or recycling them. That creates e-waste – and that poses a major threat to the environment and to human health.

A photo of electronics at a landfill site

Lost resources

If old electricals go to landfill, or are flytipped instead of being recycled, valuable resources are lost forever. That’s a big problem.

aerial view of open mine

Loss to the economy

Discarded or hoarded household electricals cost the UK economy £370 million per year of lost valuable raw materials such as gold, copper, aluminium and steel.

A photo of mobile phones to be recycled

Loss of financial value

The average UK household is hiding away 20 unwanted electricals. If we passed these on to charities they could make a big difference to people’s lives.

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Loss through climate change

Producing electricals creates carbon emissions. Recycling our old electricals would cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road.

A photo of a dismantled washing machine Graphic showing how the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road if we recycle

Did you know?

What can we all do to solve the problems with electrical waste?

All your old electrical items with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled – and many can be repaired or reused.

A photo of a computer being repaired

Pass it on

If you don’t want it, pass it on. Charities can raise vital funds by selling your old electricals or giving them to low-income households.

A photo of mobile phone being recycled

Fix it

Many organisations can repair and refurbish your small electricals. Ask the original manufacturer for a list of their authorised repair networks.

A photo of old electrical items ready for recycling

Recycle it

A massive 75% of the materials in old electricals can be recycled and turned into anything from life-saving equipment to children’s playgrounds.

Find out how you can get involved

Electrical waste is a massive problem, so we need to work together to solve it. Find out what you can do.

Find your nearest recycling point