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.

photo of earth being destroyed by mining

Environmental damage

Digging raw materials out of the ground damages the environment. Reusing and correctly recycling means less damage.

A photo of mobile phones to be recycled

Loss of financial value

If old electricals were passed on and resold – by charities, for example – those funds could make a big difference to people’s lives

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Climate change

Producing electricals creates carbon emissions. We could save millions of tonnes of CO2 if we recycled our old electricals, instead of binning them.

A photo of a dismantled washing machine graphic showing unwanted electricals are worth £17 billion

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