The research “Electrical Waste – challenges and opportunities” conducted by sustainability experts Anthesis and in partnership with Lancaster University, ourselves and Valpak, provides the latest robust inventory of the flow of electrical products and waste in the UK. The research also looked at the volumes of electrical waste that are being reused or recycled.
The main purpose of the research was to help the industry identify where action can be taken to improve UK reuse and recycling rates for electricals, and to support overall recycling, and re-use target setting.
Material Focus provided the key findings of the research, which they identified as:
- A total of 1.65 million tonnes of electricals were sold (put on the market) in the UK.
- 206,000 tonnes are new electricals not replacing old items.
- 45 million tonnes of electrical waste was available to be re-used or recycled, including:
- 653,000 tonnes processed for recycling by approved and authorised treatment providers.
- 82,000 tonnes of household electricals processed by reuse organisations.
- 180,000 tonnes of electricals processed by commercial reusers and IT asset management companies.
- At least 500,000 tonnes of waste electricals were lost through being thrown away, hoarded, stolen, or illegally exported, including:
- 155,000 tonnes thrown away in domestic bins and being incinerated or landfilled
- 145,000 tonnes of commercial electrical waste thrown away in skips with no evidence that it is recycled
- 114,000 tonnes stolen (LDA, mixed WEEE, displays and compressor units from refrigeration)
- 32,000 tonnes illegally exported
Material Focus is encouraging more UK householders to gather up their old unwanted electricals and then put them in a bag ready to be taken to local recycling facilities. Further details of all the nationwide campaigns can be found at : www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk with details.