Warwickshire News Mine

An experiment using OpenCalais and Google Maps to tag news stories

‘e-clutter’ your home this spring

Warwickshire County Council has teamed up with Recycle Now and clutter expert Beverly Wade to launch the ‘Don’t bin it, bring it’ campaign, urging people to recycle electricals or ‘e-clutter’ as part of a spring clean.

Small electricals such as old kettles and mobile phones may not be top of the spring-cleaning list. But research1 shows on average we all have at least three unwanted electronic items cluttering up the home – and that’s before digging around in the cupboards.

154 million2a small electrical products were bought in the UK in the last year alone, weighing a staggering 551,000 tonnes in total or 22kgs per household2b. But only around 10% of this was recycled.

Between April and December last year, families in Warwickshire recycled 1,139 tonnes of electrical waste3a – that’s the equivalent of 4 irons, 11 hairdryers or 48 electric toothbrushes per household3b.

Decluttering guru Beverly Wade who runs Cluttergone, a Professional Decluttering and Organising Service, understands how easily clutter can mount up.

She said: “Many of us find it difficult to detach ourselves from old or unused items – often convincing ourselves that it’s worth holding on to them ‘just in case’. But more often than not these end up forgotten in the backs of cupboards or favourite hiding spots such as the garage or the loft.

“Spring is a traditional time for fresh starts so it’s the perfect time to have a good sort-out and work out what you really want to keep. This year, why not start with your small electricals first for a change, then you can move on to tackle the rest once you’re in the right frame of mind.”

According to recent Recycle Now research4, three out of ten of us have never recycled a small electrical item. The main reason is lack of knowledge - knowing what can be recycled (41%) and secondly knowing where to take items (25%).

Small electrical items we say we already recycle include:
Mobile phone (20%)
TV (14%)
Computer (10%)
Toaster or Vacuum cleaner (9%)

However, other household items such as electric toothbrushes, battery-operated watches, electronic toys and hedge clippers were rarely recycled. Many items end up being thrown out with the household rubbish.

Cllr Martin Heatley, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “I urge everyone to have a good hunt in those cupboards and lofts to get rid of the e-clutter we all accumulate.”

Gerrard Fisher from Recycle Now said: “Electrical items that use disposable batteries, have a mains cable or need recharging can all be recycled. The raw materials can then be put to new uses; for example, a typical iron contains enough steel to make 13 food cans.

“So when you’re spring cleaning this year, if you come across any old electricals, remember, don’t bin it, bring it along to your local recycling centre in Warwickshire. There are 9 dedicated facilities for collecting waste electrical goods. You can find your nearest drop off point using our postcode locator at http://www.dontbinitbringit.org or just check the county council website at http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hwrc’’

Recycle Now has developed the following four-step plan to help you clear-out your e-clutter this Spring:

Getting started:
If clutter has been building up for a while, knowing where to start can be difficult. That’s why it can help to start with a certain type of item – such as small electrical goods. It can be easy to feel disheartened, but it’s okay if you don’t get everything done straightaway – the key thing is that you’ve chosen to take a first step.

Why not try grouping like with like together:
A good way to start can be to choose one category of small electrical products – for example small kitchen appliances, personal care items such as hairdryers or shavers, DIY and garden electricals or electronic devices like mobiles and cameras. Then you can gather all the products of a similar type together. Looking in any little hiding places such as the garage, the ‘junk room’ or maybe the loft can also help. Somehow, it becomes much easier to discard that old personal stereo that you no longer listen to, when it’s next to your shiny new mp3 player.  If you start with the easy things - the items that are broken, worn-out or unused, it makes the whole process much easier.  Normally it is best to make a decision quickly, and move on to the next item.

Can it be recycled?
It couldn’t be easier to check which electrical products can be recycled. If it has a mains cable or uses replaceable batteries or needs charging or has the crossed-out wheelie bin logo on it, you can recycle it.

How to find your local recycling centre:
Many local authority recycling centres accept waste electrical and electronic products, but it’s worth checking the postcode locator first at http://www.dontbinitbringit.org to find your nearest one – or simply visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hwrc

Beverly Wade and Recycle Now have also developed a quiz to help people identify how prone they are to e-cluttering. So if you’re unsure whether you’re a Clutterbug or a Committed Recycler, find out your e-clutter score at http://www.dontbinitbringit.org