How to recycle your electrical appliances

Have you recently had an electrical appliance break down on you? If you have, do you know how to dispose of it? You might be lucky to find a recycling bin for electrical goods on your street or in your local supermarket, but these are normally for smaller items such as mobile phones and batteries. So what do you do when you have a larger item such as a television or fridge?

Due to the amount of waste that electrical goods create (around a million tonnes a year in the UK*) and the hazardous substances they can produce, it’s imperative that all electrical goods are disposed of correctly. WEEE (The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods across Europe. Items that fall within this directive – and should therefore be correctly disposed of – include:

  • Household appliances
  • IT and telecoms equipment
  • Consumer equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools
  • Toys and sports equipment

Some councils offer a bulky waste collection services, however, many have now discontinued this option. One of the quickest and safest ways to dispose of your electrical appliances is to take them to a local recycling plant. You can find your nearest plant by visiting Recycle Now’s recycling centre locator.

Another quick and easy way to dispose of your electrical goods is with 123Recycle for Free, who offer a free pick up and recycle service in and around London. Many retailers will also dispose of your item if you are buying another one, but check with the retailer before you buy.

Alternatively, if your existing appliances are working, but you want to upgrade, then why not donate them to a charity such as the British Heart Foundation?

While they can’t be recycled, you should also dispose of low-energy light bulbs properly. Low-energy light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, if a bulb is smashed, it is advised to leave the room for at least 15 minutes to allow for any mercury in the air to settle. Once you have done this, wrap the bulb and place it in your domestic waste bin. If you take the bulb to a recycling plant ensure that the bulb is in a sealed bag.

* Source which.co.uk
Recycling image courtesy of Bartek Ambrozik