We are all guilty of keeping broken or outdated electronics in the hopes of repairing them or with the intention of binning them. Yet we never get around to doing it and end up with a cupboard, drawer or room full of electronic waste. This waste then accumulates until you end up disposing of it eventually. But are you disposing of it correctly?
*By the end of 2020, UK consumers had either contributed to landfill or hoarded nearly five million unwanted electrical devices. So, to declutter your home and cash in on your old electronics, you may be wondering how to dispose of them legally and responsibly in the UK.
There are some simple options available to you when disposing of e-waste:
1. Pass it on to Friends & Family
If you have younger members of the family that need a laptop for school but can’t afford one and you’ll be getting rid of yours… Or if your grandparents are trying to become more digitally active, gifting them your old tablet or smartphone is a great place to start.
2. Sell your electronic waste online
Britain is one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to e-waste. So turn your unwanted electronics into cash by selling them online. Whether you use eBay, Gumtree or Vinted there will be people ready to buy your items. If you’d rather sell your items locally, why not join Facebook Marketplace?
3. Re-use electronic waste
More and more people are throwing away perfectly good items and buying brand new ones to replace them. Due to this, landfills are swelling with unnecessary e-waste. By spending a lot less money, you can often fix a broken item at home and it will last you a few more years. So next time you go to dispose of your electronics, consider fixing them first. If you’re not confident fixing it yourself, why not take it to a local repair shop instead?
4. Donate it
One of the best ways to dispose of your electrical waste is by donating it. Maybe you’ve upgraded your phone but your old one was in perfect condition. Or you’ve bought a new laptop because your old one didn’t have enough storage. These items are still functional and could be donated to social programs or schools.
5. Recycle your electronic waste
Lastly, if you haven’t been successful repairing your product, or it hasn’t sold online, it may be time to dispose of your waste.
How to recycle electronic waste
Of course, you can get rid of your old electronic devices, but never place them directly into your bin to be sent to landfill. As your old products decompose, they may leak hazardous and toxic chemicals into the soil, thus contaminating the land. Therefore, it is vital to dispose of these properly and recycle them at the correct centres. Or if you have an office of electronics that needs disposing of, hire a waste management company to dispose of your business waste. For this year’s guidelines on business waste, read the full article here.
Recycling WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) is a specialist part of the waste management and recycling industry. Therefore, to ensure that your old items are recycled responsibly, you should follow the WEEE guidelines carefully.
What is the process for recycling electronic waste components?
The recycling of electronic components may vary from plant to plant, so it’s worth speaking to your local recycling centre to understand what can and can’t be disposed of there. Generally speaking, most plants will follow this simple process:
- Collection – Once you’ve scheduled a drop-off or collection of your electronics, you will then send them off.
- Shredding – Your electronic devices and components are then shredded into smaller fragments to allow for a more precise separation of their components.
- Sorting and separating – Finally, a powerful magnet will separate any valuable metals from waste streams on a conveyor. This allows the useful materials to be reused or even sold in the future.
How to protect your sensitive data
Electronics are a vital part of our everyday lives. However, the downside is the e-waste that comes with it. Whenever disposing of any electronic equipment, be sure to factory reset your devices to prevent any sensitive information from being exposed.
By following these 5 easy tips, you can ensure you are making the most of your electronic waste management and reducing your environmental impact. If you would like more information on how we can help you with your electronic waste management, please contact us today.