Recycling confusion as old electricals pile upWhich? guide reveals what you can recycle

16 October 2009

A Which? survey has revealed how we're a nation of electrical hoarders - but also found that some people are chucking old electrical items away because they don't know how to recycle them.

We asked 1,007 consumers what they did with old electrical goods - such as irons, DVD players and hairdryers - and found that only half knew they could recycle them. 

A quarter of those who'd disposed of an electrical item in the last two years threw it away with the rest of their household rubbish – almost half doing so because they didn’t know what else to do with it.

Not sure what to do with your old iron, DVD player, microwave or blender? Our new online recycling tool shows you how to recycle electrical products.

Hoarding at home

Of those surveyed, 73% said they still had old electrical products at home that were broken or no longer used.

The top items most likely to be left in the loft included video recorders (31%), radios (25%), irons (22%), kettles (22%), digital cameras (22%) and DVD Players (22%).

More than 40% of those surveyed said they knew that they should recycle small electrical items, but found it a hassle to do so – and 42% felt guilty for not recycling more. See our essential guide to recycling for some practical tips on recycling at home.

How to recycle electricals

Most electrical items can be recycled rather than thrown in the bin - contact your local council to see where your nearest recycling site is, and find out about some of the other ways you can recycle electrical items in our electrical recycling guide.

Jess Ross, editor of, said: 'Most people have good intentions about recycling, but, when it comes to old electrical items, there’s still a lot of confusion about what goes where and when.

'We’d urge consumers to think twice before throwing things out with their rubbish - take a look at our new online recycling tool to find out how to take the right steps.'

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