11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Electrical Recycling

Electrical Equipment RecyclingWaste electronic and electrical equipment like TVs, fridges and computers - is one of the fastest growing types of waste in Europe. Every year UK households throw away around 1,000,000 tonnes of it.

Recycling electrical equipment is so easy to do. Just watch 13 year old Jess Wood follow the recycling path of her broken hair straighteners to see what happens. The film is part of a major push to encourage children to help meet recycling targets. The campaign, devised by European Recycling Platform (ERP), is one of the UK’s largest battery recycling schemes. Click here to watch Jess.

Reusing and recycling can help save energy and raw materials, and prevent harmful chemicals entering the environment. So why not try and hang on to your equipment for longer. Making electrical items uses a lot of energy and valuable materials, including precious metals like silver. Electrical equipment can also contain chemicals like lead and mercury. These chemicals can get into the environment and harm people or animals if items are not disposed of carefully. You can save money and cut waste by holding onto your equipment for longer, so try the following tips.

Upgrade Computers

If your computer is getting a bit old, you could think about improving it rather than buying a new one. You can upgrade the computer’s performance by increasing memory or replacing the hard drive. But why not ask in a computer shop or search online to get advice, parts and technical help for upgrading? And if you must change your hard drive, you could keep your existing monitor!

Keep Mobile Phones for Longer

There’s no need to replace your mobile phone every year - most will work for at least five years. Hanging on to your current phone can save you money, as the cost of a new handset is usually included in monthly tariffs. Remember - mobile phones are designed to last many years, so try to keep yours longer.

When you need to get rid of your mobile phone consider:

  • many phone shops will now take back old handsets for recycling
  • there are organisations and charities that accept mobiles for refurbishment and recycling
  • you could sell your phone on an online auction site

Ask your phone company about the different tariffs they have available if you don’t upgrade your handset (‘SIM only’)

Disposing of Used Equipment

Electrical items, including cables and plugs, can often be reused. If you do have to get rid of old electrical or electronic equipment, you should avoid throwing it away with household rubbish - this will lead to wasted resources and energy, and could mean harmful chemicals entering the environment:

  • Unwanted electrical or electronic items, including cables and plugs, can often be reused
  • Try finding a new home for your item by using organisations like Freecycle, or donating it to a local reuse charity. The Furniture Re-use Network has an interactive map which will tell you where your nearest reuse charity is and many will take electronic goods
  • District council websites may list local charity schemes that accept electrical items
  • If you are buying a new electrical or electronic item, ask the retailer how they will help you recycle the old item you are replacing. Retailers are now obliged to either take it back in store on a like-for-like basis, collect it when they deliver the new item, or inform you where you can take the item for recycling free-of-charge; some retailers offer a collection service for old items, but may charge for the collection
  • Existing options for recycling and safe disposal of electronic and electrical items will continue to be available - you can take them free-of-charge to your local civic amenity site (waste and recycling centre)
  • Your local authority will collect bulky waste electrical items from your home, although they can charge for the service
  • Reducing waste, re-using and repairing broken or damaged items
  • Freecycle - find exchange projects in your area
  • Freegle - don’t throw it away, give it away!
  • Find a local reuse charity via the Furniture Re-use Network

Types of Product

Dispose of items separately from household rubbish. You can tell which products are covered by the WEEE regulations by looking out for the ‘crossed out wheeled bin’ symbol - this means that you should dispose of it separately from other household rubbish. Types of household electrical and electronic equipment that are covered include:

  • Large and small household appliances - for example, washing machines, freezers and vacuum cleaners
  • IT and telecommunications equipment such as computers and mobile phones
  • Consumer equipment like radios and TVs
  • Electrical tools such as drills and saws
  • Leisure and sports equipment such as video game consoles
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