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It’s time to empty our "drawers of doom"

New research has found we hoard 880 million unused electrical items and throw away 103,000 tonnes of electricals. 

The recycling campaign group estimates we've gone from stockpiling an average of 20 items to 30 within just four years.

The top ten products include mobile phones, hairdryers, remote controls, adapters, headphones, Christmas lights, and toasters.

With the UN reporting that electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented recycling, we're being urged to clean out our "drawers of doom".

Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, told the BBC: “we've probably all got a drawer of doom with cables that we don't know what they're for.” 

The Material Focus report suggests households are throwing away 103,000 tonnes of electricals, rather than recycling them.


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Above: new research says we hoard 880 million unused electrical items. 

It estimates over 880 million unused items are being kept and warns unwanted electronics should never go in the general waste.

And it said 7.98 million tonnes of CO2 could also be saved if the electricals that are thrown away, held onto, stolen, or illegally exported were recycled.

To calculate the estimates on what we're holding onto, Material Focus used data from market research where 2,000 adults were polled across the UK by companies that are members of the British Polling Council.

It's vital these devices are disposed of correctly because they contain hazardous substances. Improper e-waste disposal sees harmful elements released into the environment contributing to water and air pollution as they decompose in landfill.

Incorrect disposal also eliminates the opportunity to refurbish or repair so the item can be reused, or the chance to recycle and recover valuable materials and resources. Electrical waste plays a significant role in the development of the UK’s circular economy, as they contain some of the most precious materials on our planet that can be infinitely recycled.

The range of electrical and electronic equipment is wide and if they’re in good working order they can, and should, be reused. Read more on this here. 

The Warp It reuse and redistribution system makes it easy to do this within an organisation and to other organisations, schools, and charities. Here’s a guide on how to do this. 

Make circularity a priority for your organisation and start reusing today. Take the online tour and get in touch to join the Warp It reuse community.

Register with Warp It and donate electrical equipment and other old or unwanted assets.

See more on how charities benefit with Warp It.


Get our 10 reuse top tips.

Read our guide to reuse.

Start reusing today and register with Warp It.


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Jennifer Clair Robson

Jennifer Clair Robson

Writing to make a difference because climate change, sustainability and the environment are issues close to my heart.


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