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Make a Difference

Producers of electrical products, batteries and packaging have legal responsibilities to fund their recycling.

Consumers also have a vital role to play. Unwanted electricals, spent batteries and packaging all contain valuable materials and by passing them on for someone else to use, or by recycling them, you can help the planet, and possibly your pocket, and put valuable resources back into the economy. REPIC’s own research has shown that the most common barrier to recycling end of life electricals, batteries and packaging remains the uncertainly over what and where these items can be recycled. This confusion often results in materials either being left unused in our homes or being disposed of incorrectly and ultimately being lost to the economy.

To help make recycling easy and encourage more consumers to recycle these items, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions by consumers on the reuse and recycling of electricals, batteries and packaging.

Electricals

Electrical and electronic equipment (“electricals”) includes virtually everything with a plug, battery or cable, and forms an essential part of our everyday life. Electricals are made from valuable materials, some of which can be rare so we need to ensure we make good use of them during their working lives and recycle them properly when they are no longer required.

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What is WEEE?

WEEE is an acronym for waste electrical and electronic equipment. It can also be referred to as e-waste. There is legislation in place in the UK and Europe to ensure it is responsibly recycled. The UK WEEE Regulations place certain obligations on companies that manufacture and/or sell electricals, including a requirement to take financial responsibility when they become waste.

What does REPIC do?

REPIC was established by many of the UK’s trusted household electrical producers to support them in meeting these responsibilities. REPIC arranges the collection and treatment of WEEE from recycling centres across the UK. Making sure it is responsibly recycled, maximising the opportunity to recover the valuable materials for further use in the economy. Wherever practical, REPIC also works with organisations that repair and refurbish electricals that can be reused.

How can I play my part?

Firstly, think about giving working electricals to family and friends, reselling them or giving them a new life by passing them on to a reuse organisation. If they can’t be reused or resold take them to a local recycling centre. This will help to protect the environment and preserve natural resources. If it is safe to do so, before disposal, please remove any batteries and place them in a separate battery recycling bin. Most importantly, please don’t throw them in your general household waste bin or other recycling bins unless you know they definitely accept waste electricals or used batteries.

Which electrical items can be recycled?

As a rule of thumb, if your electrical item has any one or more of these four things, it is recyclable:

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Examples of recyclable electricals

 

Gadgets

Phones, mobile phones, TVs and TV remote controls, chargers, radios, VCRs, DVD players, speakers, Hi-Fi, electronic toys

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Large Appliances

Fridges, freezers, cookers, dishwashers, tumble driers

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Kitchen

Kettles, toasters, irons, blenders, coffee machines, bread makers, smoothie makers

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Bedroom/
Bathroom

Hairdryers, straighteners, curlers, electronic toothbrushes shavers, hair clippers

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Garden Shed

Drills, power tools, sanders, lawnmowers, pressure washers, strimmers

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What does the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol mean?

The crossed-out wheelie bin symbol reminds you that the whole product and any batteries or cables it uses must not be disposed of in your general waste.

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Why should I recycle electricals?

Some of the components used to make electricals can be hazardous and harmful to the environment, while others can easily be recycled and reused. Some are even precious and contain gold or silver or rare earth metals such as palladium. Materials from recycled electricals can be used in everything from children’s playgrounds to lifesaving equipment, while donated tech can help bridge the digital divide.

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Where can I recycle electricals?

There are over 5,000 locations in the UK where you can drop off old electricals and used batteries, there’s sure to be a place near you. Use the postcode locator to find your nearest recycling location.

Donate electricals to charities

If your electrical item is unwanted, but could still be useful to someone else, consider donating it for reuse. More and more charities and local household waste recycling centres accept unwanted electricals for reuse. These items will be repaired, tested and either sold on or passed to those most in need in your local community.

Batteries

The number of products powered by batteries has increased  and each one contains valuable materials that can be recovered for further use when properly recycled.

There is UK legislation (The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009) that places certain obligations on companies that manufacture and sell batteries, including a requirement to take financial responsibility for them when they become waste.

REPIC was established by many of the UK’s leading household electrical producers to support those businesses affected by battery regulations.

REPIC helps its members with registration, reporting and arranges the collection and treatment of waste batteries from recycling centres across the UK. REPIC makes sure all batteries that are collected are responsibly recycled, maximising the opportunity to recover the valuable materials for further use in the economy.

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How can I play my part?

If you have batteries sitting in cupboards, drawers, your attic or your garage, sort through them and take action now. Many supermarkets, retailers, schools and recycling centres have battery collection bins, so if they are spent or damaged store them somewhere dry and take them along on your next visit. This will ensure your batteries are recycled responsibly, protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. Most importantly, please don’t throw them in your general household waste bin or other recycling bins unless you have been told they can accept waste batteries.

Which batteries can be recycled?

Portable batteries – typically, these types of batteries include (but are not limited to) button cell, AA, AAA and 9v batteries, rechargeable batteries and batteries commonly used to power household devices. Retailers with collection bins will accept all portable battery types, provided they are not damaged. They can also be taken to your nearest battery recycling point at your local household recycling centre. Larger and heavier batteries such as car batteries, specialist battery types and batteries from industrial equipment can also be recycled at your local household recycling centre.

What does the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol mean?

The crossed-out wheelie bin symbol reminds you that batteries must not be disposed of in your general waste.

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Why should I recycle batteries?

Batteries are found in hundreds of different electrical items in our homes and places of work. By recycling every used battery, you can help save energy and materials that can be used to make something new and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is estimated that around half of all batteries sold in the UK are not being recycled and are probably being put in household waste bins. Batteries contain substances which require specialist treatment and can be harmful to the environment or cause fires when not treated in the correct way. So next time you remove or replace a battery, put it in a dry, safe place and drop it off at a retailer collection point or your local recycling centre on your next trip.

Where can I recycle batteries?

Most supermarkets and retailers that sell batteries have a collection bin in-store for used batteries, so when you pick up your reusable bags for your food shop, why not take your used batteries with you at the same time? There’s also the option to take them with you on your next trip to your local household recycling centre. Dedicated battery bins are available at most sites nationwide. Some local councils may collect used batteries separately from the home as part of their household collection service, but this service is not available in all areas, so you should check your local council guidance on how to dispose of used batteries.

Recycling Locator

Packaging

Most of us handle packaging every day, containing the food we eat and protecting the products we buy. UK legislation places certain obligations on companies that produce or use packaging, or sell packaged goods, including a requirement to take financial responsibility for the packaging when it becomes waste.

Companies are also encouraged to minimise the amount of packaging they use and increase the amount of packaging that can be recycled. As further encouragement, more recently a new tax has been introduced for plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

REPIC was established by many of the UK’s leading household electrical producers to support them in meeting these responsibilities.

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How can I play my part?

Separate your waste packaging for recycling, depositing this in the recycling bins provided by your local council. This will ensure your packaging is recycled responsibly, protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. Most importantly, please don’t put packaging that can be recycled in your general household waste bin.

Can packaging be recycled?

Many different types of packaging can be recycled. Recycling symbols and packaging labels on our everyday items help us to identify whether the packaging can be collected from the home for recycling or if you can take it to your local recycling centre.

What do all the packaging symbols means?

Recycling symbols are used to help identify the different types of packaging and if they are capable of being recycled. Our guide will help you increase what you recycle in and out of the home.

  1. Widely recycled means – 65% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items
  2. Rinse widely recycled means – you should rinse these items and put their lids back on.
  3. Not recycled means – less than 15% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items
  4. This symbol is the green dot. It does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable, will be recycled or has been recycled. It is a symbol used on packaging in some European countries and signifies that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.
  5. This is the mobius loop symbol. This indicates that an object is capable of being recycled, not that the object has been recycled or will be accepted in all recycling collection systems.
  6. This symbol identifies the type of plastic used in the packaging. PET bottles are recycled by the majority of local authorities.
  7. This symbol asks you to recycle your glass container. Using your glass household waste recycling collection or recycled in coloured specific bottle banks.
  8. This symbol means that the product is made from recycled aluminium. This packaging should be recycled through your household waste recycling collection or in specific collection banks at your local recycling centre.
  9. This symbol means that the product is made from steel. All local authorities collect steel cans for recycling. Other steel or metal items can be taken to your household recycling centre.
  10. This is the Keep Britain Tidy symbol and asks you not to litter. It doesn’t relate to recycling but it’s important to remember to dispose of your packaging in the most appropriate manner.
  11. The cross out wheelie bin symbol indicates that the product should not be discarded as unsorted waste but must be sent to separate collection facilities for recovery and recycling.
  12. Products that are industrially compostable are given this seedling symbol for industrial composting. Compostable plastics with this logo should go in with your garden and/or food waste.
  13. This symbol means that it is suitable to be home composted. Usually in addition to the seedling symbol for industrial composting. This should not be put in your home plastics recycling collection.
  14. This is the Forest Stewardship Council logo. This symbol helps to identify wood-based products from well managed forest independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC

Why should I recycle packaging?

Recycling packaging helps to conserve resources, save energy and protect the environment. It reduces waste, as recycled materials are transformed into new products, minimising the need for additional raw materials. The recycling process also requires less energy compared to producing new items from raw materials, contributing to a more circular economy outlined in each country's strategy.

Specific Waste Strategies

Where can I recycle packaging materials?

Find out where and how to recycle, by entering your postcode into the Recycling Locator. Not all local authorities collect the same materials so ensure you follow the advice of your local authority.

Recycling Locator

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