The WEEE directive applies to the majority of home electrical products, including televisions, games consoles, tools and smoke alarms. Even products that contains a small electronic circuit, such as some toys, are included.
If you have small electronic items to get rid of, head to your local Designated Collection Facility (DCF), which is typically a recycling centre with the facilities to handle electronic waste.
Find your nearest DCF by entering your postcode on recycle-more.co.uk. Check which types of electronic waste your local DCF will accept beforehand, as not all recycling centres process every type of waste.
If you can’t take it down to a centre, many local authorities will pick it up – but many charge for collection. The price depends on the quantity and sizes of the items you wish to be collected.
The producers In accordance with the directive, many retailers and manufacturers of electronic goods have recycling schemes in place, although the details and costs vary.
Some retailers, such as PC World, offer a free take-back service, where they will accept your old computer equipment in the store when you buy a new one. Be careful to delete information and data stored on hard disks and flash memory beforehand though – see Delete hard disk files and folders forever for more.
Dell has an extensive recycling scheme for end-of-life computers and a re-use scheme for old PCs in working order as well as for monitors, printers and peripherals. You can have an old Dell-branded PC collected by the company free of charge.
In addition, if you buy a brand new Dell computer, you can have your old one collected and recycled at no extra cost, regardless of its manufacturer. You are limited to two boxes, each weighing no more than 31kg, and monitors and PC towers are considered separate items.
Comet, however, charges £8.95 to collect old kit whenever you purchase a new item and have it delivered. If you just need some waste collected without making a purchase, Comet charges £19.57 to pick it up. Why make the effort? Recycling is one way to reduce the amount of discarded technology being sent to landfill sites, but another is to re-use working equipment by donating it to friends, family or to a charity.