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“Hidden Treasures” conducted by Material Focus – a not-for-profit organisation funded by the producer compliance fee – revealed if these items had been reused or passed on, UK householders could have made £17 billion from the second hand re-sale value of small old electricals.

The research drew upon three research projects to compile the headline facts which highlight the vast scale of how many electrical products are being thrown away or hoarded in the UK.

In 2019, Anthesis partnered with REPIC, Valpak and Lancaster University to deliver a commissioned piece of research for Material Focus to investigate reported and unreported flows of electrical and electronic equipment. Having delivered a robust inventory of all the different routes by which EEE and WEEE flows through the UK economy, Eunomia Research and YouGov were commissioned to provide further data and in-depth analysis that informed the results of Material Focus’ research.

Headline findings of the “Hidden Treasures” Research:

  • UK households are hoarding 527 million small old electricals, weighing around 190,000 tonnes, and 155,000 tonnes of waste electricals are thrown away in general household rubbish each year, costing the UK economy over £370 million of lost valuable raw materials
  • 8 million tonnes of CO2 emission could be saved, equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road if all our old small electricals that are being thrown away or hoarded were recycled
  • The total number of cables hoarded in UK homes (140 million) could circle the earth more than 5 times
  • UK householders could have made £17 billion from second hand re-sale value of their hoarded electricals – around £620 per household

To illustrate the scale of the challenge, the Recycle Your Electricals campaign has partnered with award-winning photographer Gregg Segal, known for his works of social commentary, to capture a bird’s eye view of images of UK residents and their old electricals.

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