Recycling electricals

How to recycle electricals

  • Find out the different ways you can get your electricals recycled so they don't end up in landfill
  • Read our tips on how to reuse your appliances or get them repaired
  • Discover what responsibilities shops have to help you recycle your electrical products

You can recycle all sorts of electrical and electronic products. These range from large items, such as fridges and washing machines, to smaller items, like hair dryers and mobile phones. We tell you what you need to know about recycling electricals, including how you can make money from it.

Recycling waste electronics means hazardous substances can be removed and stops large amounts of electrical material going to landfill. 

There are plenty of ways you can prevent your unwanted electricals and electronics from ending up in landfill, and we've given a round-up below.

If you're replacing an electrical appliance, make sure you choose a model that won't ramp up your energy bills. Check out our guide to energy saving appliances.

1. Store take-back scheme (Weee Directive)

Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Weee) Regulations, when a shop sells you a new version of the same electrical product, it must provide a way for you to dispose of your old model. Shops can opt to do this in store, or they can set up an alternative take-back service and provide you with information about how you use this.

Shops over a certain size (400 square metres) that sell electricals also have to take back any 'very small' electricals, regardless of whether you've bought anything from that shop. Items that counts as 'very small' are ones that are 25cm or less on their longest side, such as mobile phones.

Electricals in the bin

Don't put electricals in the bin. There are lots of ways to recycle them

2. Local recycling centre

Contact your local recycling centre to find out what types of electronic and electrical equipment they accept and in what condition. 

3. Council collection service

Ask your council to pick up your unwanted electrical products for recycling.

4. Donate electrical goods to charity

Some charity shops accept small, working electrical items that are in good condition. But always call ahead to check your item can be accepted, so you don't have a wasted journey. 

5. Make money recycling waste electricals and other products

You can make money by recycling mobile phones, MP3 players and digital cameras through certain companies. For instance, Argos lets you trade in your old tablet or mobile and gives you vouchers for its value.

You can use an online auction site, such as eBay, to sell unwanted electrical items in good condition. See our guide to selling on eBay for tips and advice.

6. Give away unwanted electricals 

Give away working electrical items to those who need them through a community reusing scheme, such as Freecycle. You can also search for local community groups on Facebook and Twitter. 

7. Can it be repaired?

Some items are worth repairing, especially more expensive ones. You can find a repairer on Trusted Traders

Alternatively, you may be able to fix some products yourself. For instance, washing machines can stop working if the filter is blocked. But if the filter can be accessed from the front of the machine, fixing it is simple.

You can also use our easy online guides to help you:


Make sure there's no personal data on your PC, tablet or phone before recycling

What should I do about personal data?

Remember that some electronics, such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets, will contain personal information about you. So you should wipe any information before you recycle these or give them to anyone else.

You can read our guides about:

Choosing a new product

If you're concerned about the environmental impact of replacing your old electricals with new ones, you can make sure that the new ones are as environmentally friendly as possible. 

To help you chose, check out our energy-saving appliances guide, which will help you pick the most energy-efficient product. The guide includes a range of appliances, including TVs, tumble dryers and dishwashers, and explains which are going to be the cheapest and most efficient to run. We've found that the annual running cost of a tumble dryer can vary from £24 to £100, so this can also have a big impact on your energy bill.

However, as well as energy efficiency you also need to consider performance - we've put links to some of our popular product reviews below. Products we review are subject to our rigorous lab tests, so you know you're getting the best: 

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