Electronics especially are a tricky one. We tend to accumulate bits and pieces, some or most are unusable and outdated but yet, there’s still in our cupboards as we don’t want to just throw in the bin. The United Nations reports that of the millions of e-waste that is discarded (as much as 50 million tons a year), less than 20% of it is recycled correctly – that’s not counting the number of home goods that are sent to landfills as well. According to the report, “Global e-waste production is on track to reach 120 million tonnes per year by 2050 if current trends continue.”
Clearly, we need to look into this and give you some options!
Electronic waste, also referred as e-waste: old cellphones, laptops, gadgets etc, are often sent to landfills, leaving the reusable products (gold, silver, copper, metal, glass…) in the trash as well. Not only are we loosing the opportunity to recycle these raw materials but throwing an old phone in the bin is also harmful to people and the environment as they contain chemicals.
Return it to the manufacturer
Always check with the manufacturer of the company first. There’s a good chance they might take them back or have a recycling program. Big brands like Apple, Dell, Canon, LG, Samsung, Sony, HP accept old e-waste. It’s worth getting in touch with them.
Check with your city
Local municipalities will always direct you in the right directions. Ask Waste Management on how, where and what you can recycle in your own city.
Bring to an e-waste recycler
Look online for an e-waste recycler in your city. In London, you can check I-Waste. Most cities have e-waste recyclers on hand and their services are always very easy to use.
Donate your electronics
Some brands offer programs that accept old electronics as donations and there are plenty of organisations that do the same.
First thing, make sure you know what type of home good you’re trying to recycle. This will help you find the best solution for it.
Donate to your community
Our favourite option for this is Olio App where you can donate things you don’t need on a simple click to people in your community. Doing so will give it a second life and that’s always the best option, even before recycling. If you want to know more about Olio, head to our podcast where you can hear from Tessa Clarke, the founder herself.
Upcycle or repurpose it
To truly limit and even avoid creating more waste, be creative and think of ways to give your product a second life. We agree, this is not an easy option but it could become a fun game with your family: finding unusual new lives for something old in your house.
Find a recycling program
As with e-waste, check with your local municipalities for programs or options to recycle. You can also find private companies.