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Government reforms on reuse and recycling of electrical goods

The government has announced new UK-wide plans designed to make it easier to recycle electrical goods.

A range of measures are proposed, including:

  • Collecting waste electrical items directly from households. These collections would be financed by the manufacturers, and not the taxpayer.
  • Free of charge collection drop points for electrical items being provided by large retailers, without a need to buy a replacement product from the retailer.
  • When delivering replacement large electrical items, such as fridges and cookers, the retailer being responsible for collecting the old one.


The proposals mean that recycling of electrical goods can be a convenient part of a person’s regular routine.

It is estimated that 155,000 tonnes of smaller electrical items, including cables, toasters, kettles, and power tools, are currently thrown in the bin each year with no thought to recycling. In addition, it is estimated that a further 527 million unwanted electrical items are currently sitting unused in UK homes but contain valuable materials such as gold, silver, and platinum that could be reused.

Just during the Christmas period, 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are thrown away each year in the UK.

The scale of the problem and the potential for reuse of materials mean these proposals have the potential to drive further growth in the UK’s treatment and re-use sector and benefit those businesses working or expanding into this area.

The announcement also reports on a recent study on public attitudes and behaviours around recycling. The study found that around 86% of people in the UK think that recycling and the associated time it takes to do this properly is worthwhile. More than 77% of householders would see a retailer offering an electrical recycling service as more environmentally responsible.

Therefore, being able to demonstrate an environmentally conscious approach is likely to benefit any business and is well worth considering in your business plans and marketing.


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