What should you do with your old electrical items?

Electrical item graphicSo, you’ve bought a new washing machine, television, microwave, hairdryer or something else electrical or electronic, but what should you do with your old one?

Electrical items are classed as hazardous waste due to the nature of some of their components.   This requires careful recovery of the materials used in order to protect people and the environment.

Because of this electrical items shouldn’t be put into your rubbish bin and definitely not into your recycling bin.

There are several things you can do if you no longer want or need your old electrical or electronic items.

Remember, it is your responsibility to remove all personal data from your electronic items prior to recycling them. Some items may go on to be refurbished. More information on deleting your data can be found here.

Fix it - gift it - sell it

If your old equipment still works, there are several ways you can pass it on so someone else can make use of it.  Some charity organisations will accept electrical items.  There are numerous online forums and reuse sites that you could advertise it for someone to buy or give it away free.Vintage TV image

Some older items may even have a higher value than you might expect due the resurgence in vintage items. You may be surprised who would want such items whether they work or not (eg TV production companies).

There are still people out there who can mend items!  Try to find your local ‘fix it’ person.  They may be a trade or a experienced person with knowledge of electricals.

To find out where you can repair, reuse or recycle your old electrical items visit our Bin Genie.


Reuse Shops at Main Recycling Centres

Image of Reuse shop electricalsNorfolk Recycling Centres which have a Reuse Shop are now selling PAT tested electrical items.  This is a new scheme to keep working electrical items in use for longer.

So if you need a new hoover, TV or DVD player now might be a great time to come have a look. All items are professionally tested before sale and prices start from just £6.

Reuse shops selling electricals are Caister, Mayton Wood, Hempton, Dereham, Kings Lynn, Thetford and Ketteringham.

If it is broken - recycle it

Image of Assorted Electrical ItemsHousehold electrical items (including light bulbs) can be recycled at all of Norfolk’s Recycling Centres. Please tell a member of staff if you are taking a working piece of electrical equipment along to your local recycling centre as as it may be suitable for reuse.

Some small items can be recycled online by sending them off in the post (e.g. mobile phones).  Search for mobile phone recycling. You may get a small payment even for an older phone.

Manufacturers have to minimise waste from electrical products and promote their reuse. If you are buying new electrical equipment, the supplier should offer collection for your old piece of equipment ensuring it is either reused or recycled correctly.

Kerbside Small Electrical and Battery Collections

Norwich City Council and Broadland District Council, from 4 April 2022 offer an electrical collection service for their residents.

This is a super convenient way of recycling your smaller items.  Larger, bulky items can be disposed off by your local council for a small fee.

Items will be collected weekly on your rubbish and recycling bin collection day.

Please place items in a tied weatherproof standard size carrier bag, or smaller, next to your rubbish or recycling bin by 6:30am for collection. You can put more than one bag out for collection.

Items must be:

  • contained in the bag or they will not be collected
  • separated by waste type and not mixed, for example, please place electrical items in one bag, batteries in another and textiles in another as the items are sent to different places for recycling or reuse

Please note:

  • items that are in larger bags, such as bin liners and black sacks will not be collected
  • bags cannot be returned and must be weatherproof, such as plastic to help keep the items dry in bad weather
  • items can be placed in smaller bags
  • this service is for Broadland residents only


What to do if my bin has been emptied but my bags are not collected?

If your items are not collected at the same time as your bin, providing you have not been left a note to say why the items have been left, please leave them out as a vehicle will return later that day.


Collections for communal bins

This service is initially for properties that have their own individual bins and not communal / shared bins. Trials will take place for these bins and residents will be notified in advance. If you do not have access to this service please continue to reuse items, wherever possible through friends, family, recycling centres, charity shops and online sites. If the items are not reusable they can be recycled at some drop off points such as Norfolk County Council recycling centres, textile banks and battery banks that are often in stores that sell batteries such as supermarkets. Alternatively for small items you can place them in your rubbish bin at home and for larger electrical items, such as white goods you can arrange for a bulky waste collection service or take to Norfolk County Council’s recycling centres.


Small electrical items

Electrical items we can collect

We can accept items that fit in a carrier bag. Example items include:

  • toasters and kettles
  • games consoles
  • torches
  • cameras
  • blenders
  • cables and chargers
  • small power tools
  • hairdryers and straighteners
  • electronic bags
  • telephones
  • electronic tablets such as iPads
  • electronic toothbrushes
  • LED lights, Christmas lights
  • small bedside lamps
  • irons
  • shavers
  • cameras
  • calculators

This is not a comprehensive list but gives examples of the size and type of item we can collect.

Note: Please remove batteries from electrical items and place them in a separate bag for collection.

Electrical items we cannot collect

  • We cannot accept items larger than a carrier bag, for example:
  • Microwaves
  • TVs and PC monitors
  • white goods such as dishwashers, fridges and washing machines
  • lightbulbs
  • commercial items
  • glass or ceramic items such as slow cookers and glass kettles

What to do with larger electrical items?
If larger electrical items are in working order and suitable for reuse these can be sold or given away for free. If the items are not suitable for reuse they can be taken to any of the Norfolk County Council recycling centres. If you are unable to transport items, you can pay for a bulky waste collection service.

What happens to the electrical items collected?
All of the electrical items collected are taken to Wiser Recycling in Thetford, Norfolk, which is an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF). The items collected are reused wherever possible and where this isn’t possible, they are broken down and recycled.


Battery types we can collect:

  • household batteries AA, AAA, C, D, 6V, 9V
  • mobile phone batteries
  • button batteries including hearing aid batteries

Batteries we cannot collect:

  • large batteries such as those designed for vehicles
  • rechargeable batteries
  • sealed lead acid/gel

What to do with car batteries that cannot be collected
Car batteries can be taken to Norfolk County Council recycling centres. They can also be taken to some garages for disposal and recycling. They cannot be placed in your rubbish bin at home.

What happens to the batteries collected?
The batteries are being recycled through the BatteryBack.org compliance scheme. There are different ways to recycle batteries depending on the battery type, such as alkaline, zinc-carbon and lead-acid batteries. Batteries are broken down to recover the raw materials, for example they may be shredded and heated at high temperatures. Materials recovered include plastic, iron, steel, nickel, cadmium and copper that can be used to make new batteries and steel.

How are electrical items recycled?