BT reveals almost a third of Scots still don’t know how to recycle unwanted electronics

Unrecyclable waste
  • Four out of ten Scots (40%) have cupboards, drawers or bags full of electrical waste
  • Nearly a third (30%) admit they don’t know how to recycle e-waste
  • Research comes as BT recycled nearly a million pieces of equipment, saving 11,430 tonnes of carbon dioxide, as calculated by the Carbon Trust

NEW research from BT has revealed that almost a third of Scots don’t know how to recycle electrical waste with 40% saying that they have cupboards, drawers or bags full of unwanted electrical equipment.

The news comes as BT reveals it has recycled nearly a million pieces of BT equipment since the start of 2020, preventing nearly 170 tonnes of electrical waste from going to landfill, equivalent to the weight of 13 double-decker buses¹.

The research found that nearly three quarters of Scots (74%) including 76% of Glaswegians and 71% of people living in Edinburgh admit to having thrown electronics into black bin liners committing the goods to landfill rather than taking them to be recycled.

The most common item Glaswegians don’t know how to recycle is games consoles (30%) with those living in Edinburgh agreeing with the majority of Scots saying that it is cables (29%). Hairdryers (27%) and remote controllers (27%) also top the list.

Interestingly, over half of Scots (52%) have engaged in ‘wishful recycling,’ throwing unwanted electronics into the recycling bin in the hope that they will somehow reach a recycling centre.

Jane Wood, BT Group Scotland Director, said, ““We made some changes in 2019 that make it compulsory to return broadband routers to us after use, which has really boosted our recycling efforts. Thanks to these changes and the commitment of our customers, we’ve prevented the release of 11,430 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of 6,000 flights from London to Tokyo¹.”

Andie Stevens, Associate Director at Carbon Trust Advisory, said, “BT makes it easy for customers to return unwanted and unneeded equipment, preventing tonnes of electrical waste and plastic from going to landfill. The recycling and refurbishment programme is a great initiative, demonstrating the commitment to circularity and achieving long-term sustainability goals by reducing the carbon intensity of products.”

BT estimates hundreds of thousands of electronic equipment in customers’ homes could be refurbished and recycled. 

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