“Until now, I think a lot of people didn’t know what they could do with their old electricals.”
Kate, a Communications Director living in south east London, was delighted to learn from the Recycle Your Electricals campaign that plastics in old electricals can be turned to good use.
Q: Were you aware that electricals are one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the UK and the world?
Kate: I didn’t know the statistics, but I knew that it was a huge and growing problem. Now I know just how serious it is.
Q: How do you feel about the fact that 75% of electricals contain precious metals such as gold, aluminum, copper and plastic?
Kate: A few things. One is how readily we throw away precious materials, and the economic waste involved.
Two is that I don’t think this statistic is well-known or understood.
And three, that you’ve grouped plastic with precious metals – which I think is absolutely correct. Plastic is an amazing resource but we don’t value it as we should and as a result the planet is filling fast with plastic. Throwing away, rather than re-using or recycling these materials, can cause great damage to the environment and to our health.
Q: What do you do with your old electricals when you no longer use them?
Kate: The ones that still work well we take to the local charity shop. Those that are broken, if we’re going to use them again, we look into getting them repaired, and those we won’t use again we’ll take to the recycling place.
Q: What types of electricals do you keep in your home, and do you hold on to any particular types? If so why?
Kate: Pretty much everything, from big items like an oven and a washing machine, to hair dryers and lamps, to things like smart phones and laptops. Some we use every day and others (like the lawnmower) not so much. I reckon we’re holding on to at least unwanted 15 electrical items.
For some reason we seem to have loads of smart phone chargers and headphones in the house, even ones that don’t work. I think we keep hoping they might start working again. So far that hasn’t happened.
Q: What was the most interesting thing you found about the Recycle Your Electricals campaign?
Kate: I’m just really pleased that this campaign is running. It’s so important that we re-use, re-purpose and recycle our electrical goods. In fact, it’s really important that we reuse and recycle everything we can. But until now I think a lot of people didn’t know what they could do with these items.
So it’s great to get this message out loud and clear: don’t throw it away, recycle it.
Photo: Kate’s selfie with her unwanted electricals was inspired by award-winning photographer Gregg Segal’s Hidden Treasure series. Why not tell us your story and send your own snap of yourself and your old electricals?