Electrical waste boost

Merseyside’s residents can get their hands on free recycling bags this January in exchange for unwanted or broken electrical items.

The giveaway, involving all 13 Merseyside Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), is aiming to stop precious metals used in electronics and electrical equipment ending up in landfill.

From Saturday January 17, visitors to the region’s HWRCs will get a free heavy duty recycling bag in exchange for broken or unused small electrical and electronic waste items – anything from hairdryers, hair straighteners and children’s electronic toys to radios, DVD players, mobile phones, kettles, toasters, power tools and more.

Household Waste Recycling Centres are one of the few places that householders can recycle small electrical items in Merseyside.

The scheme has been organised by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia. Over the past three years MRWA has given away 21,000 recycling bags.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “If you’ve got an electrical item that is broken or no longer used then drop it off at your local Recycling Centre, it’ll then be stripped down and the parts recycled.

“Last year we recycled over two-thousand tonnes of small electrical items and we know there is a lot more out there gathering dust and cluttering up homes. The bag offer is always very popular and works because it is a way of rewarding good recycling habits.”

Many electrical items such as mobile phones, consoles and tablets/computers contain valuable materials that can be separated in the recycling process. Precious finite metals (those that have a more limited supply) include gold and copper. These are valuable and can be reused in new products, saving resources and energy.

Alex Paterson, Director of Veolia, said: “At present small electrical items are commonly seen in the residual waste and in the kerbside dry recyclable containers. This means they do not get recycled and may end up in landfill. The blue bag will provide an easy way to collect and recycle these items and therefore improve recycling rates on Merseyside.”

Bag supplies are limited so will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. Only one bag is available per person per visit.

Fact file:

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) facts:
– On average, each person in the UK buys three new electrical items each year or 170 million nationally.
– For every 5.9kg of small electricals bought in 2012 (the average amount per person) only a fraction (1.8kg) was sent to be recycled
– Recycling electricals is environmentally friendly – unwanted electricals and electronics can be recycled and contain really valuable raw materials. For example, one iron contains enough steel to produce 13 steel cans

(Figures courtesy of Recycle Now).

What exactly can you recycle?

FT4E5780• High-tech electronic devices – can include phones, mobile phones, remote controls, chargers, radios, VCRs, digi-boxes, speakers, hi-fi units, electronic toys, laptops, tablets/computers.
• Personal care – can include hairdryers, hair straighteners, electric toothbrushes, hair trimmers, shavers, hair curlers, facial saunas, power showers.
• Small kitchen appliances – can include kettles, toasters, irons, blenders, smoothie makers, sandwich toasters, coffee machines, food processors, bread makers, electric scales.
• DIY and garden electrical – can include drills, power tools, garden shears, strimmers, sanders, angle grinders, chainsaws, lawnmowers, garden sprinklers.

Look out for the pink signage at your local Recycling Centre which shows you what goes where.