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Government plans to introduce home collection for recycling electricals

Kettles and other small electric items could be recycled at drop-off points in supermarkets (Yui Mok/PA)
Kettles and other small electric items could be recycled at drop-off points in supermarkets (Yui Mok/PA)

People may soon be able to recycle electrical goods through a direct collection from their home funded by the producers of those items under new Government proposals.

Ministers are also considering having large retailers install drop-off points in-store where people can recycle unwanted items free of charge.

Retailers would also be responsible for collecting broken items such as fridges or ovens if they are delivering a replacement.

Home collections would not require any extra bins, the Government said.

The reforms are part of the Government’s plan to increase recycling, as it said 155,000 tonnes of small electricals like cables, toasters and kettles are thrown away each year, while 527 million unwanted items are sat in homes with valuable materials such as gold, silver and platinum.

At Christmas, the Government estimates that 500 tonnes of lights are thrown away after each festive period.

Recycling minister Robbie Moore said: “Every year millions of household electricals across the UK end up in the bin rather than being correctly recycled or reused. This is a sheer waste of our natural resources and has to stop.

“We all have a drawer of old tech somewhere that we don’t know what to do with and our proposals will ensure these gadgets are easy to dispose of without the need for a trip to your local tip.

“Our plans will also drive the move to a more circular economy and create new jobs by making all recycling simpler.”

Christmas fairy lights isolated on reflecting surface (Alamy/PA)
The Government estimates that 500 tonnes of lights are thrown away each Christmas (Alamy/PA)

Ministers said they will be working with manufacturers, retailers and small businesses throughout the 10-week consultation period which opened on Thursday.

The proposed changes would also mean that vape suppliers would pay the cost of their separate collection and treatment once they are used.

It is thought that collecting and recycling vapes costs around £200 million a year, with around five million vapes thrown out each week.

The Government said around 80% of people in the UK want to recycle properly and would do so if it was available to them.

Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, which represents waste and recycling companies, said: “Far too many electronic devices currently end up in the bin, so making it simpler and more convenient for householders to recycle waste electricals at home will undoubtedly play a key role in helping our sector return the valuable and rare materials in these devices back to the circular economy.

“On behalf of those operating recycling centres and kerbside collection services, we welcome the opportunity to contribute through consultation and help create an effective system that delivers on its intended outcomes and works, not just for householders, but for obligated producers and retailers too.”