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New and easy ways to recycle your old electricals!

A recent change in law should make it a lot easier to recycle old electrical items. When you buy a new electrical item, the store you buy it from is now required to recycle the item you’re replacing, on a like-for-like basis, free of charge.

So, if you’re buying a new toaster, take the old one to the shop with you and hand it over to be recycled! If you forget to take your old one, or can’t take it in at the same time as buying a new one, don’t worry, you have 28 days from the point you purchase the new item to take your old one back.

Companies that sell large amounts of electronics (like Curries, PC World, B&Q or supermarkets)  are required to offer recycling points for small electrical items (less than 25 cm on the longest length) for anyone who has something they no longer use. This includes everything from electric toothbrushes to small hair dryers. Please check the larger stores’ websites before visiting or ask about the recycling service when you’re in store.

Key facts

  • Shops will recycle your old electrical items on a like-for-like basis. If you buy a new radio, they’ll recycle your old radio free of charge. However, if you wanted to keep hold of your old radio, stores wouldn’t recycle another item, a fridge for example, in its place.
  • Shops will do this on a one-for-one basis. If you buy one kettle, they’re only obliged to take one kettle back.
  • You cannot send old items back to online-only retailers (e.g. eBay, Amazon, AO) to be recycled.
  • You can take old items back to physical stores to be recycled if you have bought an item from that company online – just make sure to do it within 28 days and take your receipt.
  • If you are looking to return a large item like a fridge or washing machine check with the company first as they may only accept larger goods at certain stores.
  • If you buy white goods (eg tumble dryer, fridge, washing machine) and have these delivered to your home, many companies will offer to collect your old appliance when they drop off the new one. However, they don’t have to offer this service and can charge you for the collection so make sure you check the company’s website before you buy.

Don’t forget! You can still recycle your old electricals at your local recycling centre.