Unwanted gadgets that could spark a charity cash drive

Hoarded appliances to be recycled for good causes

A A A

They may be about as useful as a mobile phone that has run out of power, but millions of us are holding on to old CD players, kettles, radios and toasters that could be put to better use, according to a new report.

Small electrical goods are the final frontier in the struggle to get Britons recycling more now that we regularly send newspapers, bottles, cans, and even old clothes to be reused, the government-funded not-for-profit company Wrap said this weekend.

Just one in five of the old appliances that lurk in desk drawers, bedside cabinets and in boxes under beds are being recycled, with nearly half the population hanging on to old toasters, telephones, CD players, kettles or radios in the hope that they might come in handy one day, according to a new survey published on the eve of Recycling Week.

Now charity shops are urging people to cut the emotional ties that stop millions of us from getting rid of old electrical goods, and instead donate them to be sold in one of their specialist electrical outlets. Small electrical items make up one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the UK, with more than 173 million new gadgets or appliances bought every year, according to Wrap.

Mike Lucas, retail director at the British Heart Foundation, last night appealed for people to donate their unwanted kettles and toasters to one of its 96 outlets. The charity is aiming to double the number of its furniture and electrical stores over the next two years, opening a further 40 sites over the next 12 months.

"There's a very high demand for small electrical products, and it's always a challenge to ensure that we have sufficient quantities of the right stock," Mr Lucas said. "People seem to hang on to them or dispose of them in a different way [rather than donate them]."

The survey for Recycle Now, Wrap's recycling campaign arm, found that one in three people keep their old gadgets because they are not sure what to do with them. Although retailers will collect large items such as washing machines and fridges for recycling, they do not do the same for small gadgets. Just over a third of respondents said they would feel better if they could donate or recycle unused small electrical goods.

A recent Which? report found that more people felt it was easier to throw away items such as toasters and kettles than recycle them. The latest figures from the Environment Agency show that just 14.5 per cent of the 480,000 tonnes of small electrical goods sold in the UK in the year to the end of June 2009 were collected for recycling.

Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State for the Environment, said: "We've all got electrical items such as old CD players around our homes that are often not used or are replaced when the latest gadget comes along. These can be donated to charities or groups that can use them, or, if broken, can be recycled so they can be made into products of the future."

The British Heart Foundation made around £9m from sales of old electrical goods and furniture last year, nearly half of all the net profit it made from its retail outlets. As well as the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Oxfam also have branches that accept small electrical items.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits