Tech and Electricals
Given the world's digital transition, this is the fastest growing category of waste.
In 2022, the UK generated the second highest amount of electronic waste per capita in the world. That's a lot of e-waste! Producing new electricals to replace old ones takes a lot of materials and energy. Raw materials such as gold, silver, copper, aluminium, steel, lithium and nickel are mined for production. When old electricals and tech are thrown away, or kept unused in a cupboard, these valuable materials are lost for reuse. The average home in the UK is hiding 20 unwanted electricals and it’s estimated that discarded or hoarded household electronics cost the UK economy £370 million per year in lost raw materials.
So how can you help to save these lost materials and bring them back into circulation? We have some brilliant solutions right here in Merton and neighbouring boroughs to reuse, repair, recycle and rent electronics and tech.
There are brilliant charities working in Merton that accept donations of working tech and electrical items for resale or redistribution.
The Dons accept laptops and tablets that are less than 8 years old to redistribute as part of their Keep Kids Connected program. Their IT specialists make sure than all information previously stored in the device is wiped before redistribution.
The Dons also accept donations of working white goods to give to those most in need. Their team of volunteers can even come to you to collect the item.
The British Heart Foundation charity shop in Mitcham accepts working electrical items including small electricals, TVs, hi-fis, washing machines, fridges and dishwashers. They will collect the items from you for free.
Little Lives accept donations of many electronics and tech items such as flat screen TVs, cameras, laptops, games consoles and speakers. Devices are donated to children via schools, youth clubs, and local authorities. Free collection can be arranged to pick up your unwanted items.
This Wandsworth-based charity accept donations of working laptops under 8 years old and tablets under 4 years old. They wipe any remaining information from the devices before redistributing them in the community. Free collection can be arranged.
With Fonebank, you can sell your old mobile phones and donate the value to Oxfam.
Organisations can responsibly and sustainably dispose of e-waste by donating old corporate devices including laptops, mobile phone and tablets to the National Device Bank. The charity uses these old devices to help digitally excluded people get online.
A service for business to rehome their IT equipment. Reconome collects the tech, wipes the data, refurbishes and re-warrantees the item. The devices are sold on to schools, charities where they will have the highest social impact at a low cost.
For more device donation schemes and tech refurbishment organisations working in London, visit the on the Greater London Authority website.
Repairing a broken tech item can save money and resources. Check out the Restart Project’s Repair directory for repair shops in the area. The shops in the Repair Directory have been chosen for their positive reviews and clear warranty terms.
Learn to take apart and identify a problem and co-fix everyday small electrical items like vacuum cleaners, toasters, kettles, lamps, hand blenders, hair dryers, radios, mobiles and laptops with more experienced fixers at a Restart Party or Repair Cafe near you. You can find a list of The Wheel's upcoming repair events here.
Ifixit sells tools needed for repair and provides free crowdsourced repair guides for everything!
CeX is a high street retailer of second hand tech which also offer repair services for consoles, phones and gadgets. They have stores in Morden and Wimbledon.
For larger appliances, these businesses often provide pick up and delivery alongside their repair services:
For items that are broken, unusable and at the end of their life, there are many options to recycle. Here are recycling options for items we get asked about the most. To find the electricals and tech recycling locations closest to you, visit Recycle Your Electricals.
Broken and irreparable tech & electrical items (such as laptops, tablets, toasters, kettles, other white goods) can be dropped off for recycling at a growing number of shops and recycling hubs.
Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre: Merton residents can recycle white goods and household electricals.
Currys: Drop off your small tech items for free recycling. Recycling home collection for old electrical equipment or white goods is only included if a new replacement item from Currys is being delivered to you.
Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre: Merton residents can recycle household low energy bulbs.
B&Q: Free drop-off points for used lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes in store.
Robert Dyas: Ask the sales assistant at the tills if you can hand over your used lightbulbs for recycling.
Many supermarkets and large hardware stores in Merton have a plastic tub to collect small batteries for recycling.
Merton residents can also recycle household and car batteries at Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre.
Video & audio cassette tapes
If you happen to still have these blasts from the past, it can be difficult to know how to recycle them. If the tape is removed from the cassette, the cassette can be recycled as hard/rigid plastic at Garth Road Recycling Centre. The Work & Play Scrapstore may also take them as a craft material.
You can recycle your inkjet printer cartridges and raise money for Sustainable Merton at the same time! Recycle 4 Charity provides a hassle free printer cartridge recycling program to raise money for charities. See Sustainable Merton's website for more info.
Buying less and renting more helps to build our circular economy. Renting and sharing electronics and tech, rather than buying items for yourself, can save you money, storage space and prevent lots of e-waste.
Morden Library of Things:
For those projects or events where you only need to use electrical equipment for a short while, renting is ideal! The Morden Library of things has carpet cleaners, drills, projectors, icecream makers, GoPro cameras and so much more!
Did you know that all Merton Libraries lend laptops and tablets to those who need them? This is part of their Connecting Merton program for digitally excluded residents to be able to borrow laptops and tablets from Merton libraries for a period of 3 months.
Rent electronics peer to peer from people in your neighbourhood. There is lots listed in the area, and if you have any tech or electrical appliances that you don't use often, you could offer them up for rental.
Which type of waste will you reduce next?
So many types of materials can be recirculated to save energy, resources, and money, reducing carbon emissions along the way. Explore how you can reduce waste from textiles, furniture, food, packaging and construction.