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by Craig Pryce March 27, 2020

A considerable number of small electrical appliances are bought in the UK every year, and only a small proportion of the old ones are currently being recycled or reused.

In fact, around one million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste are generated every year.

Whether your appliance is in a working condition or completely broken, there are things you can do! From recycling it to giving it away to someone else.

In this article, we’ll take a look at all of your options.

What is a small electrical appliance?

A few examples of small appliances are:

  • Kitchen appliances such as toasters, blenders, electric kettles, slow cookers, or coffeemakers
  • Irons
  • Mobile phones
  • Computers
  • Televisions
  • Drills

What to do with unwanted working small electrical appliances

If you have an unwanted small electrical item that is still in a safe and working condition, you have a plethora of options for what to do with it.

One suggestion is to give the appliance away to a family member or friend; they may appreciate this if they don’t have one, or theirs is coming to the end of its life. Electrical appliances can be expensive to buy, so being given a second-hand one from someone else can be extremely helpful.

Alternatively, you could list your unwanted item on Freecycle. If you’re not yet familiar with Freecycle, it is a non-profit movement for people who wish to give or receive free items in their local area. Again, your unwanted items could be precious to someone else — a free kettle, for example, could make a world of difference to a family in need.

If you want to earn some money back on your unwanted small electricals, you could put them up for sale on Amazon or eBay. To do this, you need to provide a description of your item alongside an image or two and ensure it is in a safe condition to be sold.

What to do with broken small electrical appliances

If your small domestic appliance is broken, don’t worry – there are still things you can do to keep it out of landfill.

One option is to check if your appliance is entirely broken and beyond repair. Often, a repair could cost you less money than buying a replacement.

If your item is beyond repair, then it’s time to recycle. It is vital to recycle broken electrical appliances to avoid negatively impacting the environment.

 It is easy to check if your appliance can be recycled. If it has a plug, uses batteries, needs charging or has a picture of a crossed-out wheelie bin on it – it can be recycled.

There are plenty of online resources for finding a recycling service near you. Some are listed below:

  • If you input your postcode on the electricals page of the Recycle Now website, it will bring up a place near you to recycle your items. Most household waste recycling centres will accept them.
  • The retail store Currys PC World will take your old electricals for recycling if there is room in their van after delivering a large appliance to you.

 Electrical items creating a pile of landfill.

You must not put your broken appliances into a regular recycle bin; councils don’t allow it and it could be dangerous.

How small electrical appliances are recycled

Once you have dropped your small electrical items off at a collection point, they are taken to a reprocessing plant and shredded into small pieces.

Next, strong magnets remove ferrous metals like steel, and electronic currents remove other metals. Plastic is sorted into different types by using near-infrared light and density separation.

These materials are then recycled and repurposed as appropriate.

Craig Pryce

Craig Pryce

With over 17 years of experience in the waste and recycling industry, Craig is passionate about making recycling easier and reducing the negative impact of litter. He has been the managing director of Wheelie Bin Solutions (WBS) since January 2016, and prides the company on his expert knowledge, top-quality products, and customer service. His proudest moment was when WBS supported the 2012 Olympic Games, working in partnership with Contenur UK to supply over 9000 bin containers to all Olympic venues. Craig is always keen to share his knowledge, so whether you need advice about the benefits of a wheelie bin lock, or ideas for alternative uses for your wheelie bin, Craig will ensure your recycling and waste disposal habits are gold medal worthy.