What to do with
Small electrical items can be recycled or passed on to others if they are in good working condition. See re-use in action in the video below:
There are lots of things that fall into this category and includes items such as alarm clocks; CD/DVD/Cassette players and game consoles; small kitchen appliances such as kettles, toasters, food mixers and blenders, microwave ovens; personal grooming products like hairdryers, straighteners, curling tongs, electric toothbrushes and shavers; garden tools such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and leaf blowers/shredders; other items such as lamps, torches, vacuum cleaners, telephones, mobiles, radios, TV's, printers, camcorders, cameras and smoke alarms.
If you have an electrical item that is still in good working condition, consider the following options.
Be sure to read our advice below to ensure that your personal data is removed from your electronic devices before you pass them on or recycle them.
Pass them on...
Charity and re-use organisations
- Electrical items can be donated to some charity shops or furniture re-use organisations - many offer collection services. Some have added their details to the Recycling Locator
- Check to see if your council offers a service for re-use
- If you live in Northern Ireland, try re:store, a chain of outlets run by the East Belfast Mission. They accept a wide range of donated items
- If you live in Scotland: call the National re-use phone line to donate your furniture on 0800 0665 820 (NB. Unfortunately TVs are not accepted).
- Ask family and friends if they would like your unwanted electricals - it could be just what they are looking for...
- Look out for local swapping events - you might even bag yourself a bargain in return!
- Sell locally at car boot, nearly new and bring and buy sales
- Put an ad in your local newspaper or shop window
- Some shops such as Cash Converters and CeX buy electrical or electronic items, especially if you have the original box and instructions etc.
- For unwanted mobile phones and tablets Argos is now offering an over the counter trade-in service at all stores nationwide, where you can get an instance quote and exchange for gift vouchers.
If the item is broken...
Can it be repaired?
- A simple repair could give an item a new lease of life and save you money too - especially on those more expensive electrical items.
- Check online for advice on how to make repairs yourself or to check whether it might be a simple and cheap repair for an expert to do. For example, www.espares.co.uk and www.ifixit.com offer free information for repairing a range of electrical items.
How do I recycle it?
It's easy to check if an electrical item, toy or game is recyclable. Simply ask the following questions:
- Does it have a plug?
- Does it use batteries?
- Does it need charging?
- Does it have a picture of a crossed out wheelie bin on it?
If you answer yes to any of these, it can be recycled.
- Check to see if your council offers a household recycling collection for small electricals
- If not, take them to your local recycling centre
- Often shops will collect your unwanted electricals when they deliver your new one - especially larger items like TV's, fridges and freezers (please note that retailers may charge to collect your old electricals)
Use the red 'Where can I recycle?' button above to find your nearest recycling centre.
For peace of mind, remove your personal data
It’s up to you to make sure your personal data has been, or will be, removed from your electronic devices. And we’re not just talking mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Lots of electrical items store information about us, from smart TVs to sat navs. Take care of your personal data and reduce the risk of it being used by someone else. Check out the latest advice from the independent consumer organisation Which?: