Recycling & Waste Industry Today

Waste Electrical 'Instruments' To Encourage gadget-Gripped Britons to Recycle

With the UK public predicted to spend £7.3bn on electricals in the run up to Christmas this year, a new survey from Recycle Now ( ) has revealed that more than a third of us (35 per cent) still believe we can't recycle the small electrical and electronic goods we are replacing, such as kettles, games consoles, phones and garden power tools.
Published 04 December 2009

But with 80 per cent saying we'd make more effort to recycle if we knew we could, Recycle Now is teaming up with The Really Rubbish Orchestra and BBC Last Choir Standing finalists Hear Me Now! on 1 December for a special concert in Covent Garden to raise awareness that small waste electricals do have value and can be recycled.

Recycle Now's latest survey of 1,500 UK adults reveals that just under 30 per cent of us - particularly young people and women - simply throw broken or unwanted items away in the rubbish, whereas if we switched to recycling these items we could divert over 100,000 tonnes of valuable waste electricals from landfill each year, weighing the equivalent of 14,000 double decker buses.

The survey also indicates that people over 35 are 50 per cent more likely than those under 35 to have recycled at least one small electrical item, and men are almost 20 per cent more likely than women. But despite the hundreds of recycling collection centres that are able to receive waste electronics, a staggering 41 per cent of people have never recycled a small appliance in their life even though almost a third of respondents changed their kettle in the past twelve months (29 per cent) and one in four swapped mobile phones (25 per cent).

With the UK population projected to spend £7.3bn in total, or £144 per head, on electricals in the last quarter of this year alone, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the possibilities of recycling electronic waste, especially over the Christmas period when many of us will receive new goods to replace broken or unwanted items.

In this unique event designed to encourage more of us to recycle our old unwanted or broken small electrical goods this season, Hear Me Now! will perform carols accompanied by The Really Rubbish Orchestra playing a number of unique, electronic instruments that have been built out of electronic waste such as an old telephone receiver, a walkman and a computer scanner. The aim of the event is to highlight that broken or unwanted items are not just waste - they have a value and can be recycled into other useful items.

Maurice Cairnduff, co-founder of the Really Rubbish Orchestra said: "We are delighted to be able to use our expertise to help Recycle Now raise awareness about recycling electrical waste in a fun and creative way. It is quite amazing what you can make from very little. We are really looking forward to the gig and hope people will come down to support us and Recycle Now's campaign."

Gerrard Fisher from Recycle Now said: "Our aim is to inform people in a fun way how and where to recycle their small electricals. At Christmas and New Year many of us choose to buy new appliances, or receive them a gifts and don't know what to do with the old ones.

"The Recycle Now website is a fantastic resource with useful information on how and what to recycle. It also has a helpful postcode finder, which locates all the recycling facilities in your area, and a list showing which retailers take back old electrical goods. All the information is available on the website, and we are hoping that the Really Rubbish experience will get people in the festive spirit but also raise awareness and encourage more of us to recycle our electrical waste over the Christmas period and into the future."

To find out more about recycling in the UK including what you can recycle and where to recycle, please visit the Recycle Now website on

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