We have joined the Material Focus Recycle Your Electricals campaign and are asking residents and business across south east Wales to donate unwanted electrical items – even if they no longer work.
Recent government figures show that waste electricals are one of the fastest growing waste streams in the UK. Last year more than 783* tonnes of waste electrical items were collected in Newport alone, from mobile phones and laptops to large TVs. The campaign aims to significantly increase the figure that gets recycled.
As Alun Harries, charity manager with Wastesavers put it: “We really hope this campaign will spur residents to clear out unwanted electrical items from their homes. Remember, anything with a plug, cable or battery can be re-used or recycled.”
There is a mountain of unused electricals sitting in our homes. “Take HI Fi speakers for example,” Harries explains. “We estimate that more than 5,000 households in Newport have been holding on to unused hi-fi speakers for over a decade! In RCT we estimate it’s 8,000 households. If you’re not going to use them donate them.”
It’s a similar story with remote controls: 7,000 households in Bridgend, 11,000 in RCT and a further 7,000 in Newport have at least five remote controls they no longer use.
Material Focus estimate the average house in Wales has at least 20 electrical items they no longer use; and offices are storing even more, from old landline phones to desktop computers.
In a concerted effort to tackle the problem, Material Focus has provided Wastesavers with funding for 1.5 new jobs in testing and processing used electrical items. Wastesavers hopes this financial kick start will help these jobs become self-financing from the sale of items collected.
“This is not just about keeping items out of landlfill,” Harries explains. “The collection and testing of old electricals also provides volunteering opportunities that can lead to paid jobs. More than 40% of Wastesavers charity staff were volunteers with our organisation first.”
“The benefits for the environment are clear,” he continues, “fewer materials going to landfill and a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to making new items from raw materials.”
Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus said: “This project is vital to ensuring that we make good use of our old electricals. Whether they are re-used or recycled – these items contain valuable materials that will otherwise be lost forever. Our research has shown that in the UK we are hoarding over 527 million small electrical items, an average of 20 per household, which is why we have recently launched our Recycle Your Electricals campaign. We are delighted to be working with Wastesavers. So whether you are at home or work, please hunt out your old electricals and donate them to benefit your community.”
Newport residents are being asked to either use the blue recycling box for small electrical items that don’t work, or donate working (or broken) items to either the Reuse Centre in Lliswery or the Newport Tip Shop.
Businesses are being asked to contact Wastesavers direct to discuss fully certified collections.