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How to properly dispose of WEEE products

How to properly dispose of WEEE products


Posted 13.12.2019

By Clearabee

How often have you had an electrical item break on you? Whether it’s your hair straighteners giving up the ghost or your freezer breaking down just after you’ve done the big shop; we’ve all been there. Even if your electrical appliances aren’t broken, it can be so tempting to go for an upgrade when the latest model comes out. They’re expensive to replace and can’t be disposed of with your usual household rubbish - you need to recycle WEEE items.

Why is it harder to dispose of electrical items?

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (better known as WEEE) is anything that requires batteries or a plug to operate. This includes things like phones, hairdryers, fridges/freezers, washing machines etc. WEEE is one of the fastest growing waste streams as people are constantly upgrading to the latest technology. Each year, around two million tonnes of WEEE is thrown away. Think about the number of people who upgrade to the latest iPhone or game console each year! With the problem of not being able to throw WEEE items away normally, this leaves a lot of people confused.

This is because WEEE may contain hazardous materials. Sending these hazardous materials straight to landfill will have a bad impact on the environment. It is likely that they will contaminate the soil and the surrounding areas. There may be such materials as lead, arsenic and cadmium. If they got into the soil, it would have an impact on plants, animals and effectively our food supply.

broken tech

Can your electrical items be reused?

First of all, think about whether you can gift or sell your items to other people. Reusing is much better than recycling. You may have upgraded, but your old television might be perfect for someone else. One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure after all! It may also be possible that you can get broken items fixed - see if the cost of repair is worth it. Alternatively, you could donate any broken items to your local college if it offers electrician courses. They would be grateful for the donation!

If you don’t know anyone that would like the items, then look into selling them. Websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are worth looking into. Even if your items are a bit broken, you may be able to sell them for spare parts. Older items are worth listing too, especially game consoles.

Recycling your WEEE

If your WEEE can’t be reused and is definitely useless, then the next best thing to do on the waste hierarchy is to recycle. This is where Clearabee come in to help. We are able to take away any of your WEEE items and make sure that they get recycled properly. No matter which one of our services you choose to use, we will make sure that they get properly recycled. All of the waste sites that we use are fully audited to ensure that they are diverting as much waste as possible from landfill. We rate these sites based off a number of different factors. These include recycling and recovery rates, environmental management standards, health and safety and also modern slavery risk.

Once at the recycling centre, the items are sorted and broken down. They are shredded by a machine, however hazardous parts such as batteries are usually picked out by hand. Once the items have been shredded, the pieces are sorted by type. With the hazardous materials taken out, it is a lot easier to sort the remaining pieces. They are sorted into plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, these can easily be sorted from non-ferrous metals as they are magnetic. The rest of the materials are sorted by an air flow system.

The materials that have been sorted will then be sent to be recycled. Metals and plastics can be melted down and reused. Ferrous metals are commonly used for vehicles, so they will often be reused in that way.

broken tech on a conveyer belt

How do I recycle my WEEE?

If you have bulky, hard to move WEEE items such as white goods, vacuum cleaners etc. then we can help. We work with the North London Waste Authority to offer free kerbside collection. You can take advantage of this service if you live in any of the following North London Boroughs:

  • Barnet
  • Camden
  • Enfield
  • Hackney
  • Haringey
  • Islington
  • Waltham Forest

As long as the items are hard to handle or bulky, we can collect them. You must be able to get the items outside of the home so that we can collect them without access to your property needing to be granted.

If you have any items that you can easily carry then you will need to take them to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre yourself. This includes small household appliances such as coffee machines, irons, toasters and hair dryers. If you have any queries about the items that we will collect, then you can look at the guide on this page.

Our man and van service

Alternatively, if you are not located in any of those seven areas then the best option would be to book our Man and Van service. We offer same day collections and we do all of the hard work for you. Our drivers will come to you during the allocated time slot and will remove any bulky WEEE items. They are happy to remove your rubbish from both indoors or outdoors from any safe and reasonable location. You don’t need to worry about having to carry any heavy and bulky items down the stairs if you live in a flat. With Clearabee, you won’t need to lift a finger and you can guarantee that your WEEE items will be recycled as best they can be.

We pride ourselves on diverting more than 95% of the waste that we collect from landfills. If you have any questions about this service, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you may have about your waste or our services.

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