Many of us like to recycle. Honestly, chances are you’ve probably got a collection of various different coloured wheelie bins, boxes and general collection points hidden around the back of the garage, each of which can be filled with different kinds of materials.

In my own garden, we’ve got one bin for conventional rubbish, another for grass cuttings, another for plastics and another for other stuff such as newspaper. It can certainly be a confusing process, but there’s still one form of recycling that most of us don’t have common access to: the recycling of electrical appliances.

On the Directgov website they outline that every year us Brits throw away literally half a million tonnes worth of electrical items. Our general mentality when things stop working and aren’t repairable seems to be to just chuck it away in the rubbish, but this process is wasting precious materials and cluttering up landfill sites with countless amounts of electrical items. They’re not always broken either; sometimes people tend to just get new things such as computers and decide to chuck out the old one even though it’s still perfectly fine.

Ever seen Wall-E? If we continue the way we’re going we’ll probably end up drowning in piles of rubbish like that poor robot was. You probably won’t be able to open your door without disturbing a precarious pile of unwanted kettles and causing a plastic avalanche. Ok, we probably won’t get that bad for a while yet, but we do have a relatively small country and the fact that we’re constantly wasting materials that could be re-used, clogging up our landfill sites and generally causing a huge amount of rubbish isn’t a very good thing at all.

The sad news is, whether it’s a mobile phone or something as large as a computer, it’s probably able to be recycled. It seems like most people in the UK aren’t really aware of areas where they can safely recycle items, but there are many solutions to the problem.

For example, Oxfordshire has recently debuted 28 individual recycling banks around the county for people to drop off their unwanted electrical goods. It’s basically the latest scheme by the local council to encourage people to recycle their goods, as without these drop-off points many people seem to be unaware that there is actually a way to recycle electrical goods in the first place.

In certain other countries around the world (and particularly in certain American states) residents are forced to recycle their home appliances to keep the amount entering landfills down. In the UK we don’t really have any such laws – while we are encouraged to recycle it isn’t mandatory. This generally means that most people won’t go out of their way to recycle (let’s face it, who wants to trek down the recycling plant in the rain carrying your old kettle – right?).

The importance of recycling goods isn’t just about the clutter they cause – certain appliances actually contain potentially dangerous components that can break down into different substances, potentially causing health and pollution problems if too many items are carelessly discarded.

If you are wanting to get rid of all your old electrical appliances, make sure you consider alternatives before shipping them out to the tip. There’s loads of recycling banks available, and if your item is still in working order, many charities will take them off your hands and repurpose them for use again by someone else.

Written by Barry Atkins at