Timed to coincide with International E-Waste Day (Friday 14th October), which is led by the WEEE Forum to raise the public profile of e-waste recycling and encourages consumers to recycle their e-waste. REPIC has worked with a managing agent to establish pop up e-waste collection locations for consumers and employee bring your e-waste to work collection points to help tackle the hoarding of end of life small electricals.
The combined efforts of the organisations for IEWD have ensured that the UK continues to communicate under one brand message and identity – Recycle Your Electricals’ HypnoCat – while supporting the focus of the WEEE Forum’s campaign to deliver practical solutions for consumers to “Recycle it all no matter how small” – the theme of this year’s campaign. Both organisations hope to use this campaign as a springboard to encourage the WEEE sector to deliver a collective impact annually.
REPIC’s participation aims to highlight the extent of hoarding of unwanted electricals, while encouraging householders to recycle broken electricals via existing collection points or the new pop-up collection sites.
According to UK research commissioned by REPIC for International E-Waste Day, UK households are holding on to more unwanted IT equipment than any other small appliances and gadgets. A staggering 11.7 million laptops and 9.17 million tablets that either have the potential to be passed on or be recycled, both featured in in the five most hoarded items, in first and third place respectively.
Completing the top five most hoarded unwanted items, that could be either passed on or recycled, were USB sticks, kettles and printers/scanners.
The survey also revealed that a combined 39 million IT devices – which equates to the equivalent of 1.4 unused IT products per household – has the potential to be passed on or recycled.
That’s a staggering 20.7 million IT products that are working and not used – which Recycle Your Electricals estimates is worth £4.2 billion – hoarded in UK households, 13 million that are definitely not working and 5.3 million that households don’t know if they are working. Products recorded as IT devices included, laptops, tablets, printers/scanners, desktop computers and external hard drives.
Louise Grantham, Chief Executive, REPIC, adds: “As part of the UK’s transition towards a circular economy, it is important consumers understand the value in recycling end of life electricals for either reuse, refurbishment or remanufacturing of the secondary raw materials into new products.
“In an ideal world, every unwanted hair care product, toaster, food blender and kettle would either be used again if it has not reached the end of its useful life, or the materials they contain be given a new lease of life through treatment in an official recycling system. In the majority of cases, the precious materials recovered from these end-of-life appliances can be used in the production of new goods, while reducing the need to mine for virgin materials.
“The stark reality is that many small electricals end up hoarded away in our homes, out of sight and mind and their precious materials lost or at worst, discarded in the household’s bin and not recycled.”
Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus, adds: “International E-waste Day is an important moment in time to highlight that electrical waste is one of the fastest growing sources of waste in the world, and how consumers can take action.”
The survey was designed using the UNITAR WEEE flows tool kit to establish information on hoarding and lifespan of products.
 For the survey – hoarded items were defined as those that could be either passed on (working – don’t use, working – new, never used or working – second hand, never used) and those that could be recycled (definitely not working or don’t know if working)