Give your old items a new lease of life
Buying new appliances, tools or gadgets is exciting – but knowing what to do with old items can be a bit of a headache. Not only do they take up space at home, they can contain materials that may be harmful if not disposed of correctly.
Fortunately, unwanted electricals can often be re-used (if they still work), and if not, can be recycled.
Tools & materials required
What can I do with an electrical item in good working order?
The best option is to find someone else who would like to re-use the item. If your friends and family don’t have a use for it, try a website like Freecycle or Freegle. These can help connect you with someone local who can make use of your unwanted household goods. If your electricals are in good condition you might even want consider selling it through an online auction site.
There are also many charities who accept donations of working electrical items – speak to your local charity shop staff or check online. Some will even collect larger items from your home. Charities will complete an electrical safety test on your donations and then re-sell to raise funds for their organisation.
What can I do with an electrical item that no longer works?
Recycling is the best option for electrical items that no longer work. The recycling process recovers all the materials that can be re-used, and safely disposes of any that may be harmful to the environment if they were to go into landfill. The metals and plastics are separated and used to create new products, including circuit boards and sheet metal products.
How do I recycle my item? B&Q is part of the Distributor Take-back Scheme which helps to fund local authorities to recycle electrical equipment. This means that your local council will offer facilities where you can drop off waste items for recycling. Recycle Now can help you to find where your nearest recycling centre is. Some councils will collect from your home – check with your local authority for more details .
What can I do if I’m fitting new a kitchen and changing my appliances?
Kitchen appliances can be re-used or recycled in the same way as any other electricals. If the item is in good working order, try to find someone who would like to re-use your appliance – see above for more ideas. If it no longer works, it can be recycled at your local council’s recycling facilities.
B&Q’s Homefit kitchen installation service will fit your new appliances as they build your new kitchen. They’ll also remove your old appliances and make sure that these are recycled responsibly for you.
I want to recycle used batteries
All of us use batteries around our homes – in television remotes, smoke alarms, toys, games and many other everyday items. These can all be recycled, and best of all you can recycle these in any B&Q store. Just remember to bring them along next time you’re visiting.
And don’t forget, recycling isn’t just limited to the most commonly found AA-type batteries – we can also recycle everything from power tool batteries through to the smaller batteries found in electronic toys, watches and phones.
5 tips to reduce waste electricals and batteries
Whilst it’s great to know that there are ways to make sure that your old items don’t end up in landfill, it’s always worth remembering that reducing the amount of electricals and batteries that you dispose of can be a good idea. There are lots of innovative products which help you reduce waste – without having to go without the latest technologies. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Switch to rechargeable batteries
Not only does this reduce waste, it means you’ll always have a power supply to hand. The latest chargers can have your batteries ready for use again in 15 minutes – quicker than heading out to the shops.
Upgrade your torches
A rechargeable torch means you can always be prepared with a fully battery. If you enjoy camping, a wind-up torch or lantern is a great option as you don’t need to rely on a power supply or keep spare batteries to hand.
One battery, many tools
Choosing power tools with interchangeable batteries is a simple way to reduce the amount of electricals that you need. As you expand your power tool collection you'll only need to pay for the new tool rather than more batteries - as you can only use one tool at a time!
Upgrade your alarms
Choosing a smoke or Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm with integrated, long life battery can help to save dozens of battery changes over the life of the alarm. Look out for 10 year life alarms – you won’t need to replace the battery for 10 years, reducing battery waste and increasing peace of mind. Also consider a combined smoke and CO alarm.
Opt for right-size appliances
When you’ve got a large family it can feel like the laundry never ends. A larger capacity washing machine will reduce the number of washes that you need to run, lightening your load and reducing wear and tear on the machine which will lengthen it’s expected lifespan.
What else do I need to know?
Before passing on any used items, make sure that you’ve removed any personal information or data. This is especially important with smart phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs.
Be aware that since the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive came into force in 2007, any electrical goods - anything which can be plugged in, charged or uses batteries – cannot be disposed of in your household waste.
I would like to know more about the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive came into force in July 2007. Since this date, individuals and organisations are no longer allowed to dispose of electrical items in standard waste. There are very stringent regulations in place that ensure that recycling takes place responsibly, and retailers are obliged to support this.
What is WEEE? Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) includes kitchen appliances, power tools, electric mowers, vacuum cleaners, smoke alarms, kettles and toasters. If an item has a plug attached, uses batteries or requires charging, it is likely to be classed as WEEE. Batteries should also not be placed in your standard household waste.
B&Q is part of the Distributor Take-back Scheme which helps to fund local authorities to recycle electrical items and equipment, by providing recycling centres.
Along with most other large retailers, B&Q is obliged to provide battery recycling in all of its stores.