Waste disposal is a growing concern in our increasingly environmentally conscious society, especially as the UK produces more than 434 million tonnes of waste each year, according to the UK Green Building Council. Electrical waste, in particular, accounts for 1.2 million tonnes each year and as the consumption of electronics products increases with the need to have the newest gadget, a bigger television or the latest mobile phone, this figure is rising by around 5% every year in the UK.
As electronic waste, or ‘e-waste’, is made up of materials such as lead, mercury, zinc and chromium which can be harmful to our health, it’s particularly important for households and businesses to recycle used electronic products in a responsible manner. Simply dumping old TV’s or microwaves in a home’s rubbish collection bin or a nearby skip is not only putting the environment at risk, but is also not making use of materials that can be broken down and re-used.
So what are the recycling options available to consumers looking to get rid of their old electronics?
1. Sell mobiles and gadgets for cash through recycling websites
Considering that the average mobile phone contract lasts just 18 months, many people upgrade and replace their phones with the latest model. There is no excuse for not recycling phones or tablets anymore, as there are plenty of websites offering cash in return for used mobiles. These are then put to good use through various ways which include breaking them down to use elements like titanium and gold, as well as refurbishing them to sell on to the less-privileged.
2. Advertise computers, laptops and TVs for sale online
For people who like to update their TV, PC or laptop as regularly as their mobile phone in order to have the most up-to-date model, there are easy ways to sell perfectly good items for cash. Most towns will have a high street second-hand shop that will pay cash for items in good working order. Alternatively there are popular outlets online such as eBay where people are always looking for a bargain. Local classifieds, both in newspapers and online such as Gum Tree, offer free space to advertise possessions too.
3. Donate household appliances locally
For electrical equipment that is still in working order, most charity shops will accept them to sell on. No matter how old or dated a kettle or microwave might seem to those replacing them with newer appliances, a working electrical appliance will usually still have enough life in them to benefit someone else rather than go to waste. There are also websites like Freecycle which is an online platform allowing people to advertise used household appliances, wanted or offered, within their local area.
4. Dispose electrical equipment at local recycling points
Local authorities throughout the UK provide waste disposal points that accept a variety of electrical equipment including mobile phones, TVs, fridge freezers, irons, clocks, hairdryers and washing machines. Using these centers will ensure that broken electrical goods are treated in an environmentally sound way, which usually involves the waste being broken down into different materials which can be melted down and re-used by electronics manufacturers.
Whether used electrical items are broken, old but still working or in good condition but have just been replaced with a better model – there are ways to recycle products responsibly no matter what state they are in.