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Green Guide To Recycling Electronics & Appliances

Learn more about how to work with your washing machine, cooker, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator and other home and office appliances

Recycling electronics and appliances is the responsible way to keep our country clean and preserve the natural environment by reducing unnecessary waste.

Recycling electronics means that they can be correctly treated, so hazardous substances do not cause serious problems to the ground or water, while the materials can be recycled rather than sent to a landfill. Metals can be used for scrap metal, while the body and casing of appliances and electronics can be processed by removing any toxins and re-used.

It is not just larger appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers and ovens that can be recycled, but much smaller electronics and items such as DVD players, kettles, irons or laptops. Often these smaller items are forgotten about, as they are easier to just throw in the bin rather than recycle. But these smaller electronics and appliances are just as important to help reduce waste.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) which is now legislation and covers the whole of the European Union made producers and importers of electronic goods responsible for recycling their products from 1st of July 2007. Retailers must either offer a free in-store ‘take-back’ service on a like-for-like basis; for example, take a customer’s old television when they buy a new one, or help fund improvements to local councils’ recycling facilities.

Households are not under the same obligations though and this is why this guide aims to provide helpful advice on ways to dispose of electronics and appliances efficiently and safely, reducing waste and helping to keep our planet earth free from harmful toxins.

Before Recycling

First of all, is the electronic item or appliance in good working order?

If it is actually still in good working order, then consider asking family, friends or neighbours if they have a use for it. Electronics that are still working can make excellent donation opportunities for local schools and churches. Then there are plenty of fantastic charities who might be interested in your unwanted appliance.

 

Donating to organisations helps those less fortunate and is environmentally friendly, but do remember to call ahead before dropping off any items to charity shops to ensure they are accepted and there is room.

Another option is to use a service such as FreecycleFreegle or Don’t Dump That which allows you to give away unwanted items for free to your local community. These services are entirely free and you can quickly and easily post your unwanted appliances or electronics to find them a new home.

If the item in question is no longer in working order, it can also be worth posting to one of the free services above and offering the item for spare parts. Another option to consider is repairing, rather than replacing. While the prices for a new appliance might be similar to repairing your old one, repairing your appliance or electronics is certainly more environmentally friendly.

How To Recycle Appliances & Electronics

Large kitchen appliances like refrigerators, freezers, cookers/ovens, dryers, washing machines and dishwashers can all be easily recycled. Smaller items are often overlooked due to their ease of being disposed in the bin alongside the usual household waste, however small kitchen or home appliances such as microwaves, toasters, blenders, hairdryers, irons and kettles can all be easily recycled as well.

Remember, retailers under the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (Weee) have to help customers recycle a wide range of electrical and white goods either by paying towards white goods recycling facilities at a council site or by offering a free in store take back service. Most opt for the first option, but do check with your store if you are buying a new item.

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