Big stores give rubbish recycling adviceHalf of shops in Which? probe had no clue

31 January 2010

The Weee logo

The Weee logo

Some of the UK’s biggest stores are giving customers the wrong advice about how to dispose of their old electrical goods, a Which? investigation has found.

The law says electrical shops must offer customers a way to recycle old electrical goods free of charge when they come in to buy a new like-for-like product bearing the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol (pictured right).

But when Which? researchers visited 12 branches each of Argos, Comet, Currys, John Lewis and Tesco and asked staff how to dispose of an old steam iron, half failed to give us the right recycling advice. 

Recycling electrical goods

Our investigation found some high street shops were clueless about their duty to advise you on how to recycle old electricals.

Shops must take back goods in the store or subsidise a local council recycling site for electrical goods. They must also display information about this and promote the benefits of disposing of electrical products separately from household rubbish.

Staff at three quarters of Argos stores and two thirds of Comet shops we visited failed to direct us to a local collection centre for waste electricals.

Recycling schemes

Which? policy adviser Simon Osborn says: 'Which? research of 1,000 adults last summer showed that only half of consumers were aware that old electrical items could be disposed of separately from the rest of household rubbish.

'If the government and stores are serious about recycling electricals, they should ensure that the schemes are properly promoted.'

Which? members can click through to read the full report Scrap or take back?, which appears in the February 2010 issue of Which? magazine. If you're not a member, subscribe to Which? magazine now to try three issues for £3.