Materials Recycling World is running a story today highlighting how UK households are hoarding 527 million small old electricals, an average of 20 per household, and throwing away 155,000 tonnes of these items every year. This is contributing to one of the fastest growing waste streams in the nation and in the world, estimated to cost the UK economy over £370 million of lost valuable raw materials such as gold, copper, aluminium and steel.
New research “Hidden Treasures” conducted by the Material Focus, revealed UK householders could have made £17 billion from second hand re-sale value of small old electricals. Additionally, if all small old electricals that are currently hoarded in people’s homes or thrown away in general household rubbish each year were recycled, 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved, the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
In a concerted effort to tackle this, Material Focus has recently launched the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, a new nationwide campaign calling on households to stop throwing away and hoarding their unwanted small old electricals – and start reusing and recycling them.
Speaking on the new initiative, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
With so many millions of small electricals not being correctly recycled or reused in the UK, we urgently need to recognise that raw materials are finite and every electrical item thrown in the bin or stashed in a draw is a waste of valuable resources.
I am very pleased to be supporting this new campaign and will be looking around my home for unwanted electrical items which I can bag up and take to the local recycling centre. It’s important to hold on to items and not throw them in the bin if your local recycling centre has not yet re-opened.
More broadly the government is committed to moving to a more circular economy, and we will be reviewing the regulations on electrical items to help drive up recycling, encourage better eco-design so products last longer and ensure manufacturers and retailers take more responsibility for waste electricals.