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Everything You Need To Know About Recycling Small Electrical Appliances

By 26th July 2016Recycling

As much we’d like to be able to clear up anything and everything in our skips, it simply doesn’t work like that.

One of the things that we can’t take away is electrical appliances. It tends to be the smaller sized ones which people want to get rid of most regularly. Things like microwaves, lamps and kettles are the sorts of things people need to dispose of all the time.

In fact, over 170 million new electrical appliances and items are bought in the UK each year, and many of us have an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new approach with our electrical goods. Unfortunately, we recycle less than a third of these when we do decide to dispose of them. Fortunately, however it is possible to recycle such goods and here’s a look in a little more depth!

Why Recycle

These types of appliances are much better off being recycled than being thrown into landfill. This is because many of them contain hazardous substances which would otherwise be harmful to the environment.

These substances are dangerous because they are once chucked into landfill, they can contaminate soil and water.

The other reason these good should be recycled is because of the materials they are largely made from.

Electrical goods are mostly made from metals and plastics, two of the most reusable materials available to us.


No, not a misspelling of a rude word or games console, it stands for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. This was first introduced back in 2007 and essentially governs that way in which manufacturers and retailers in European countries behave regarding recycling.

The directive, which is regularly updated as new tech is released, is designed to ensure less harmful waste is sent to landfill. While the directive doesn’t directly affect consumers, it does make it simpler for you to recycle goods once you have finished with them.

What Can Be Recycled?

First of all, any small electrical appliance you have which has a plug or battery can usually be recycled. This can range from kitchen appliances like toasters and kettles to communication tech like laptops and mobile phones, from audio equipment like mp3 players and games consoles to personal grooming gadgets like electric razors or straighteners.

If you are looking to recycle something but are unsure, do this simple checklist:

  • Does it use batteries?
  • Does it have a charger?
  • Does it have a plug?
  • Does it carry the WEEE wheelie bin logo (a wheelie bin picture with a cross over it)

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it can be recycled.

How to Recycle

Thankfully, the process of recycling electrical goods is a straightforward one. It is also free.

Store Take-Back Schemes

Under WEEE regulations, when a shop sells a new version of an electrical product, it must provide the customer with a way of disposing their old model. Shops can decide whether to offer this in-store or to set up an alternative service. Pop in or give them a call to see how they can help.

Local Recycling Centre & Council Collection

If you head on over to Directgov you can search for your nearest recycle centre, where you can drop off all your electrical goods for free. Depending on your local council, they may even come and collect it from your front door. Give them a call and find out to see if they offer this service.


If your old electronics still work, there are a number of different charity shops which may take them from you, take a look on your high street.

Make Money

There are an increasing number of specialist recycling sites for things like mobile phones, CDs and other electronic items. The incentive here is you can receive a small fee for donating it to them, so it’s well worth doing.

Small electronic appliances are among the easiest things to recycle, so if you have a few things cluttering up your kitchen cupboards or desks, consider some of the options above.