How to recycle e-waste: laptops, mobile phones and other appliances

Are you doing everything you can to make a positive impact on the planet? Then you’ll want to know how to recycle e-waste. We know every small action makes a difference, but if we all pull together on this challenge, we could make one of the most significant differences yet. As Greenredeem members, many of us have perfected our recycling habits, but there is one area that we’re still left a little unsure on – how to recycle e-waste. 

E-waste doesn’t come with a recycling mark on it, we don’t all own an e-waste bin, and in all honesty, many of us are confused about what to do with it. So, we store it in random places throughout our homes. Today, we’ll uncover the truth on how to recycle e-waste items that are commonly hoarded in homes. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a new spring in your step for recycling. 

How to recycle e-waste: mobile phones 

When you look back at the history of mobile phones, they’ve had quite a journey. Most of us will remember our first mobiles, including the polyphonic ringtones, traditional keypad games and the giant handsets. In the 50 years since their creation, over 14 billion handsets have been produced. What’s perhaps more shocking, is that they’re all still out there in one form or another. 

Mobile phones are very durable. Today we have waterproof, shatterproof and even bulletproof phones. They’ll be on this planet long after us, which is why it’s essential we recycle them where we can. Even those that are completely broken will still contain 80% recyclable materials. 


First things first, you can’t dispose of your mobile phone in your regular waste bin. Some local authorities do collect mobile phones, such as Oxford City Council, but they request that they are put into a carrier bag and placed on top of your bin on collection days. If you’re unsure, check out the Nearby Recycling button at the bottom of your Greenredeem account page

Some companies will offer money for your old phones, Music Magpie offer a collection service for your phone and do all the legwork for you! Just get your price online, box it up and send it to them. Receiving a few extra pennies is undoubtedly a better option than a drawer full of unused mobiles. 

How to recycle old laptops 

Here’s a fun fact for you; if we recycled the 31 million laptops that are estimated to be sitting around UK homes, we could cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road. If those emissions don’t shock you enough, recycling those laptops could produce 5 million life-saving defibrillators in rural communities. It’s quite shocking how much impact recycling old laptops can have. But we know that the big question is, how do we go about doing it? 


Laptops are slightly more clunky. They’re not easy to pick up at the kerbside for councils, although some will still offer this service. Weee Charity will collect your laptop, refurbish it and donate it to someone in need. During these times, that could help a child trying to access their education online. 

Another option is to take it to your local recycling centre. While you can find your nearest location using the Nearby Recycling button on your Greenredeem account page, be sure to ring before you turn up – just in case the centre is closed due to the latest lockdown restrictions. 

How to recycle e-waste appliances 

It may not be as common to store your old kettle or freezer in cupboards, but these items of e-waste pose the same issue – how do we recycle them? It may surprise you that 62% of our e-waste in terms of weight, comes from small and large appliances. This can range from toasters and blenders to washing machines and fridges. 

E-waste graphic

You might call for a local waste collector to help you remove it from your home, but you can’t be sure that the waste is being recycled or even disposed of safely. We recommend the best way to be sure your appliances are being safely recycled, is to find a recycling location and contact them for safe and eco-friendly removal. 

With over 1.45 millions tonnes of e-waste being generated in the UK, we’re the second-worst country in the world. It’s time to take action, but we also know having the answers is important. Although options and services vary in different local authorities, as always at Greenredeem, we’re happy to answer your questions. If you’re wondering how you can recycle your batteries, lightbulbs, chargers or even unused treadmills, we’ve got the answers. Just ask us! 

2 Responses

  1. Useful article. Obviously, recycling e-waste is not as streamlined and uniform across the country as ,say, paper or glass recycling.

    What is the best way to recycle old video cassettes and audio tapes?

    1. Hi Neville. Thanks for reading, like you say, recycling is not streamlined across the country so it is always best to check in your local area. For this reason, we recommend contacting your local council, some recycling centres do not accept these due to the chemicals in the tapes. Better to be safe and check with them – hope this helps!

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