30 waste electrical items in average UK home

Stockpiling of unwanted gadgets and equipment is on the rise, according to a new study.

black and silver car fob

Overall, British households are now throwing away 103,000 tonnes of electricals each year, with each household now binning or stockpiling an average of 30 items they don’t use or need, up from 20 at the previous poll, unveiled in 2021.

In addition, 880million unused electrical items are now being ‘hoarded’. Meanwhile, 343,000 tonnes of equipment is lost or stolen annually, worth around £440million. Cumulatively, all this leads to 7.98million tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere every 12 months – the equivalent to the annual use of 3.84million cars.

The research has been published by Material Focus. The report, Electrical Waste: Challenges and Opportunities, has found that lost electricals, and the materials they contain, could be worth around £927million, and make a significant contribution to the UK economy if they were successfully recycled. 

Taking into account stashed, dumped, and lost, here’s how many tonnes of wasted electricals each region of the UK is now responsible for: 

  • South East – 13,700 tonnes
  • London – 12,400 tonnes
  • North West – 11,400 tonnes
  • Wales  – 10,900 tonnes
  • East of England – 9,500 tonnes
  • Scotland – 9,100 tonnes
  • South West – 8,800 tonnes
  • West Midlands – 8,800 tonnes
  • Yorkshire & The Humber – 8,400 tonnes
  • North East – 4,200 tonnes
  • East Midlands – 7,400 tonnes
  • Northern Ireland – 2,800 tonnes

‘We seem to be venturing into an era of hyper-tech-buying. The amount of electricals that we buy and use have soared in recent years by over a third since 2019, whether it’s the latest kitchen FadTech such as an air fryer, to fitness tech and to FastTech. FastTech are cheap small electricals such as mini-fans, charging cables, vapes, earphones and ear-bud,’ said Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus.

‘When electricals break or become unwanted too many of them end up being thrown away or are held onto unused. This is a significant missed opportunity. With the value of the materials that are inside our electricals increasing by up to 180% over the last 4 years it has never been more important to not lose that value,’ he continued. 

More on waste and recycling: 


Image: Kyrylo Kholopkin





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