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Recycling your old electricals is easy

Computers, Phones, TVs & Monitors Recycling Guide

Electronic devices like computers and phones have become a deeply ingrained part of our society in recent years, with the average household estimated to contain 24 pieces of electronic equipment. Inevitably, these devices are going to need replacing when they become less reliable and less effective. While your first thought might be to simply throw your previous model in the bin, this is something you shouldn’t be doing. Our guide aims to help explain the negative effects of throwing these kinds of items in the bin and how you can safely and easily recycle them instead.

To start, let’s discuss the potential negatives of throwing these items away:

  • If sent to landfill, electrical material can leak into the earth and make its way into nearby eco-systems and water supplies, potentially leading to contamination.
  • Ashes produced from the incineration of plastics and heavy metals can be picked up by the atmosphere and will eventually settle on both land and water, causing problems for environments and food chains.
  • Old TVs and monitors usually contain lead, mercury, chromium and other heavy metals that can be bad for both animals and humans.
  • Many plastics are known carcinogens and, in certain situations, can cause health problems including cancer.

Recycling your electronic goods is therefore a great way to help stop these things happening. Read on for our guide on the best and safest ways to do this.

Step 1Can It Be Recycled?

If your electrical product fulfils any of these criteria, it can be recycled:

  • Does it require batteries?
  • Does it require charging?
  • Does it have a plug?
  • Does it carry the crossed out wheelie bin logo?

Step 2Start Your Recycling Preparation

Back up your data

To ensure you don’t lose any files that you want to keep, you should copy your data to a cloud storage surface or an external hard drive. Some reputable cloud services include:

Here are some well known and trusted brands of external hard drives:

Remove your data

This is an integral step in the disposal of electronic items that carry your information. There are various things you can do to secure your data:

  • Delete and overwriting files
  • Turn on data encryption
  • Uninstall your programs
  • Remove your accounts
  • Unpair any connected devices
  • Physically damaging the hard drive

You can also download programs that wipe your hard drive for you. Examples include:

For Mac and PC

For iPhone and Android

Step 3Types of Recycling

Once you’ve removed your data, your electronics are ready to be recycled. There are a lot of different ways to do this. Here are our recommended methods:

Standard recycling

There are recycling banks across the country where electronics can be taken in order to be recycled.

You can find your nearest recycling bank here:

Find Recycling Bank

Take back & exchange

Many companies offer recycling services. Some take away your old computer when you buy a new one from them. Others accept products that no longer function so that they can recycle them. There are certain companies, like Apple, that exchange old electronics for vouchers.

Examples of companies that have a recycling scheme include:

Donations & charities

If you’re unlikely to make money from your old equipment (or are feeling generous), there are charities that accept old and broken computers. They refurbish them before giving them to schools, families or countries in need.

Here are some charitable organisations that have a computer recycling programme set up:

Sell your item

Broken products can be sold at a reduced price and repaired or recycled by the buyer. You can do this on many online marketplaces, such as eBay and Gumtree.

Scrapping

There are “for profit” organisations that take or buy old and broken computers and strip them of their most valuable parts to sell them for scrap.

The UK throws away around one million tonnes of electrical items each year - enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times! If we all try harder to recycle our e-waste, we can greatly reduce the negative effect this will have on our environment.

How are we helping?

In the UK, distributors including retailers must provide a system which allows all customers buying new electrical equipment the opportunity to recycle their old items free of charge. As a responsible retailer, our waste recycling and disposal requirement are achieved by our partnership with Grundon, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of integrated Waste management and environmental solutions.

To find more information on WEEE recycling and to locate your nearest recycling centre please visit the Recycle More website.

Recycle More