A new survey has revealed that a quarter of people across Leeds regularly throw old and used electrical items such as radios, kettles, mobile phones, irons and hairdryers in the general waste bin. Interestingly, half of the respondents didn’t recycle old electricals because they didn’t know how to and 65% wanted to find out more.

The UK-wide survey carried out by REPIC – the UK’s largest WEEE producer compliance scheme – also found that 28% of the respondents thought that mobile phones couldn’t be recycled and over two thirds (68%) weren’t aware that cookers, tumble dryers and dishwashers could be recycled.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK – yet when it comes to recycling – it’s currently given the least attention in UK homes. Impressively 80% of people surveyed in Leeds always recycle paper and cardboard, over three quarters (75%) recycle tins and bottles and 68% recycle kitchen and garden waste. Figures however dropped for recycling electricals with just 41% of respondents saying they always recycled them.

Recycle Electricals

Recycle Electricals

Reassuringly the environmental impact of e-waste was a concern for the majority of people questioned, 58% thought that it was hazardous for the environment and wanted more information on this.

Dr Philip Morton, CEO of REPIC says:

Overall the survey findings are very encouraging. There are plenty of good intentions and the majority of people are keen to find out which electrical products can be recycled and how they should be disposed of. It’s also great to see that young people in particular are curious to find out more. It is clear that consumer awareness is the key to improved collection volumes. Most people want to “do the right thing” all they need is the right information.”

He adds: “Wherever practical old electricals should be reused and, if they can’t be, the WEEE needs to be recycled. The best way is to take it to a household recycling centre to enable recovery of secondary materials for manufacturing new items. No need to make a special trip just take it next time you go with other recyclables; that way it saves time, money and the environment because it’s all done in one journey. For larger items, many local councils offer collection services and some retailers provide take-back schemes where old electricals goods can be dropped off when people replace their products.”

Full information on recycling WEEE can be found on REPIC’s Responsible Recycling website