Welsh economy missing out on £850m from hoarded old electrical items, research shows

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Households across Wales are hoarding around 26 million small old electricals, rather than recycling them, new research claims.

Material Focus - a not-for-profit organisation - revealed if these hoarded items had been reused or passed on, the Welsh economy has missed out on £851 million from second hand re-sale value of small old electricals

Instead, the eventual throwing away of these items is contributing to one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, estimated to cost the UK economy over £370 million of lost valuable raw materials such as gold, copper, aluminium and steel.

Material Focus says if all small old electricals were recycled, it could save 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road.

Hoarded items include cables, speakers and laptops with the likes of kettles, electric toothbrushes and blenders also featuring. The average household hoarded these items for over two years.

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The studies also show that if all the old laptops hoarded across the UK were recycled, they could provide enough aluminium to produce 159,000 bikes; enough steel to make 12,000 playground swings; or enough plastic to make nearly 5 million life-saving defibrillators.

Material Focus have launched a portal allowing households to find easier ways to recycle.