The UK E-waste problem

E-waste is a huge problem in the UK with households fly-tipping items such as phone chargers, smart phones, laptops and tablets. A study by OKdo revealed that one third of UK residents don’t know how to recycle such items correctly.

There were also a number of other key findings that highlight the need to educate the public on how to dispose of electrical items safely and correctly.

Liverpool is the UK capital for e-waste

According to Okdo’s study, in the past five years Liverpool has reported 9,992 fly-tipping incidents involving electronic items, making it in the e-waste fly-tipping capital in England. 40% of residents here stated that they did not know how to recycle their e-waste.

Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Birmingham all feature in the top ten worst places for fly-tipping e-waste, suggesting city residents are the biggest offenders.

Household fly-tipping

On average, there were 17 fly-tipping incidents per 1,000 people in England last year with most involving household waste (65%) and 15% including electrical waste.

Last year, 13,400 fixed penalty notices were issued for small scale fly-tipping with 28,000 concerning littering. There were also 43,000 warning letters issued. However, the fines don’t appear to do much to deter residents from disposing of their e-waste inappropriately.


With so many members of the public seemingly in the dark about responsible disposal, awareness and education is key. It would appear that the problem isn’t that people don’t want to do the right thing, it’s that they’re unsure what they should be doing.

There were reports that the government was considering kerb side collection of tech items to improve recycling as well as placing more responsibility on retailers. This would go some way to lessen the amount of e-waste.

The future of tech disposal

With quicker release of upgrades and cheaper technology combined with our throw-away culture, the problem is likely to get worse. The popularity of newer technology and devices such as Raspberry Pi kits mean there are now more gadgets for a household to dispose of.

Luckily, some companies are taking initiative and providing a solution such as recycling schemes where vouchers are given in exchange for recycling an unwanted item. Offering something in return and making the process easy will encourage customers to take responsibility for their e-waste.

As long as the technology is being created, every person has a responsibility to dispose of unwanted tech items correctly. From government awareness, local council presence, supplier and distributor initiatives right through to members of the public, we can all do our bit to lessen the impact on our cities and environment.

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