Travelling tellies – where does our electrical recycling go?
Most electrical appliances don’t last forever, and there comes a time when they need to be replaced. But how easy is it to recycle old televisions? Where do they end up?
To find out where our electrical recycling goes we put GPS trackers into six televisions, took them to Comet, Currys and recycling centres and tracked where they went. One TV we recycled at a Croydon recycling centre went to China by boat, stopping off at Greece and Sri Lanka on route.
Another we took to London’s Lambeth recycling centre went to Kent to be dismantled. The tracker didn’t survive this. However, the council said parts would have gone toB elgium, China, Germany, South Korea, Sweden and the UK.
Did they all get recycled?
The TV (or part of it) that we took to Currys, ended up at Southampton docks. After an investigation, Currys couldn’t explain our television’s destination, so it appears that all or part of it may not have been recycled.
Currys said it believed this was a one-off that it was investigating internally, saying that its approach to recycling is ‘… in full accordance with government processes, uses approved processors and is regularly monitored by the relevant authorities.’ You can see what happened to each of the TVs we recycled by watching our TV recycling investigation video.
Are we actually taking our electricals to be recycled?
When we asked people what they actually do with their old appliances, it turned out that many smaller appliances aren’t actually taken to be recycled. In our survey of more than 2,000 Brits, only around a third of people said they took their old appliances to be recycled. More than one in ten admitted to putting them in the bin – this was higher for small things like irons and kettles.
And a fifth of people hadn’t done anything at all with them. This certainly rings true with me. I’ve got an old laptop that’s been sitting in my flat, not getting recycled, for two years. Without a car to get to a recycling centre, I don’t see this situation improving any time soon.
Do you take your electricals to be recycled? How easy is it to do this near you? What would make it easier?
Do you recycle electrical goods?
Yes, I take them to a household recycling centre (54%, 269 Votes)
It depends on the item (22%, 112 Votes)
Yes, I take them to a charity shop (6%, 30 Votes)
Yes, my local council collects them from my home (4%, 22 Votes)
No, they just gather dust (4%, 22 Votes)
No, I repair them instead (4%, 21 Votes)
No, I just put them in the bin (4%, 20 Votes)
Yes, I take them to an electrical shop like Currys (2%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 502
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