UK households ‘abandon’ 4.2 million electrical items over Christmas

UK households bought nearly 40 million electrical items in the period between Black Friday and Christmas, according to research conducted by the Recycle Your Electricals campaign.

As well as launching a bin collection app, South Norfolk is considering WEEE collection (picture: Shutterstock)

The campaign says this resulted in 4.2 million unwanted electrical items being “abandoned”, with the hoarding of 2.2 million items and the other 2 million thrown away.

Recycle Your Electricals claims the unwanted items have a value of £136 million.

Led by Material Focus and funded by the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) compliance fee, Recycle Your Electricals is a UK-wide campaign which aims to make it easier for people to reuse and recycle unwanted electricals.

Scott Butler, the executive director of Material Focus, said: “Unwanted electricals this Christmas have a donation value of £136 million.

“With financial difficulties affecting many of us these electricals really should never go to waste.”

Recycle Your Electricals’ research was conducted by market research company Opinium from 19 to 23 November.

The research was carried out among a sample of 2,001 UK adults aged 18+ and weighted to nationally representative criteria.


The fourth quarter of the calendar year traditionally sees the highest volumes of EEE placed on the market and the lowest volumes of WEEE collected for recycling by producer compliance schemes.

Between October and December 2020, producers placed 503,487 tonnes of EEE on the market and compliance schemes collected nearly 126,860 tonnes of WEEE (see letsrecycle.com story).

In the three months prior, producers placed 418,036 of EEE on the market and compliance schemes collected 131,720 tonnes of WEEE.

Give-Back January

To encourage people to donate their unwanted electricals for recycling and reuse, Recycle Your Electricals has launched its annual Give-Back January campaign, fronted by television presenter Konnie Huq and lifestyle writer Nicola Lewis.

Material Focus’s celebrity supporter Konnie Huq donates old household electricals to charity as part of Recycle Your Electricals’ Give Back-January campaign

In 2021, the campaign was fronted by Scottish journalist and television presenter Andrea McLean and her husband, Nick Feeney (see letsrecycle.com story).

Ms Huq said of this year’s campaign: “The Recycle Your Electricals Give-Back January campaign is so important – it shows us that there is value in our waste electricals.

“There are so many people that would really appreciate something being donated to them, and if something is really broken then always recycle it.”

Those looking for their nearest recycling or donation point can find it via a postcode tracker hosted on the Recycle Your Electricals website.

Related link
Recycle Your Electricals postcode finder

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