Bright pink bins for electrical waste have resulted in nine times more e-waste being collected for recycling, say councils.
Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, a partnership between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, installed the new collection banks last year in a bid to reduce the amount of electrical items being disposed of in black bins.
The local authorities say the pink banks are suitable for collecting most small electrical items which have a plug or a battery, including phones, toys, and kettles.
The councils estimate Cambridgeshire households throw an average of 4kg of electrical items away in their black bins each year, which adds up to around 500 tonnes of e-waste that could have been recycled.
We’ve collected over 49 tonnes of small electrical appliances, from toasters to telephones, since the new banks were put in place.
The small appliances are sorted for reuse and recycling by specialist company Wiser Recycling in Thetford to separate items that are undamaged, uncontaminated, and/or repairable. Items that are unsuitable for reuse are dismantled into component parts, the local authorities say.
Any items that fail the reuse screening are sent to local and national specialist operators that recycle them into new substances or products.
Executive councillor for Climate Action and Environment at Cambridge City Council, Cllr Rosy Moore, commented: “We’ve collected over 49 tonnes of small electrical appliances, from toasters to telephones, since the new banks were put in place – that’s about the same weight as seven African elephants and 44 tonnes more than the previous year.
“We’re really pleased that more people have been able to easily recycle these items, which are full of vital materials like copper and lithium, closer to where they live.”