People having clear-outs want to get rid of every item that seems to be a waste and nuisance in the house. It could be household and garden waste, whose disposal is easily manageable through the use of skips.

The real headache strikes when you have already loaded every waste item in a skip, and you are now wondering whether to include your old electrical items too.

Electrical or electronic appliances are classified under hazardous and harmful items. They contain toxic materials, and skip hire companies don't accept them in their skips.

Instead of worrying about putting your old electrical items in a skip in the UK, the producers and importers of the item are burdened with the responsibility of collecting and recycling them. Therefore, you can put every other item in a skip, provided that it is allowed by the skip hire company, and take the old electrical appliances for recycling.

If electrical items were allowed by skip hire companies, you could pay for their disposal. Fortunately, taking them to your local recycling centre is free, as the manufacturers are solely responsible for the funding of the recycling schemes.

Electrical items categories

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) classify electronic items into ten categories.  They include:

Medical devices

  • Automatic dispensers
  • Control and monitoring instruments
  • Sports, toy and leisure equipment
  • Electrical and electronic appliances
  • Lighting equipment
  • Telecommunications and IT tools
  • Consumer equipment
  • Small household electrical equipment
  • Large household electrical appliances

A skip isn't a safe way of disposing of electrical and electronic goods. When getting rid of your old electrical item, do it correctly to ensure human and environmental safety. Items such as hairdryers and washing machines are beneficial while in good condition, but disposing of such items incorrectly poses a threat to the environment.

How to dispose of old electrical items

Before finding the best way to dispose of your item, consider knowing what WEEE includes under the electrical item category. The thumb rule is that an Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) is anything that has batteries or a plug. These items are hazardous if put in a general landfill and need proper disposal.

The following are some ways of disposing of your old electrical items:

  • Recycle or re-gift: If your item is still useable, why don't you check with family and friends to see if they can take it? For items like freezers or old computers, you can sell them to recycling centres. Facebook, e-bay, and other selling sites can give you extra cash for the item.
  • Call your local council: Most local councils offer electrical waste collection services. They can collect your items and dispose of them safely, at a small fee.
  • Take it back to the manufacturer: Some manufacturers take back electrical goods no longer needed by customers. Check the manufacturer's website to see if they have a disposal scheme where they repossess unwanted items.

Therefore, you cannot put your old electrical and electronic items in a skip because they are hazardous to the environment. If you want to dispose of the goods, you can consider giving them to friends or relatives or calling your local council to collect them. Besides, you can earn extra cash by selling them to recycling sites.