Give gadgets a new lease of life this Christmas

With so many people getting gadgets this Christmas, Zero Waste Scotland, Scotland’s resource efficiency body, is highlighting that old electrical and electronic items can have a life well beyond Christmas, even if you’re finished with them.

24 Dec 14

Ever-popular electrical items such as phones, tablets, kitchen equipment, stereos or radios use up huge amounts of natural resources to make, and as Christmas approaches Zero Waste Scotland is calling on people with items they no longer want to sell or donate them to help keep them in use.

For example, between now and 2020 we’ll import about £50 million worth of gold into Scotland – hidden away in our TVs, mobile phones and computers, but we’ll recover just a tiny fraction of it.  

Re-using items is much more environmentally friendly than recycling them.Revolve businesses (which meet Scotland’s national re-use quality standard) in Scotland alone saved 1,400 tonnes of carbon last year by re-using electrical goods. That’s equivalent to taking 443 cars off the road for a year.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“With Christmas around the corner, many people will be buying electrical goods for friends and family, or wondering what to do with gadgets they already have, which they no longer want or aren’t working. If after Christmas, the turkey is getting cold and you find you have electrical items you don’t want any more, don’t forget to re-use or recycle them.

“The resources that go into making electrical items won’t last forever. Even if you no longer need that radio, toaster, or large item, someone else, either an individual or a local re-use organisation, could make good use of it. Have a look at our handy guide to giving electrical items a new lease of life after Christmas.”

Here’s our handy guide to re-using your old electrical items:

  • Don’t give up at the first sign of damage or what you think is an irreparable problem. There is a wide range of repair businesses, or websites that can help out, whether it’s a phone or a music device that’s not working properly, like (where guides and resources are free) 

Businesses like Motherwell-based LAMH Recycle can help.

  • Some simple maintenance can help prevent problems with your existing, or new, IT equipment: keep computers and gadgets dust-free and away from the floor; remove and delete old files regularly; install virus software and do regular scans.
  • Many stores now offer take-back of used electricals and electronics – ask your retailer if you’re not sure.
  • Someone out there will be able to give your unwanted electrical or electronic devices a good home. Why not sell them online via sites like ebay or Gumtree and make some cash?
  • Call the National Re-Use phone line on 0800 0665 820 for advice on what to do with small electrical items. Or if you have large electrical goods, like a fridge or a washing machine, that you don’t need anymore, they can arrange for your item to be re-used and offer free pick-up. The phone line closes on 24th December and reopens on 5th January.
  • There are 24 re-use businesses accredited across Scotland, with a total of 32 stores between them. You can find a local, Revolve-accredited store at which could have just what you’re looking for.
  • If you have smaller unwanted electrical items that can’t be repaired, where you can find information on re-use centres, or how you can recycle locally.
  • And finally, if you’re storing items for re-use, make sure you keep them indoors – away from that wintry Scottish weather!

Revolve-accredited businesses in Scotland are also encouraged Scots to donate or repair their old gadgets and gizmos this festive season.

  • Motherwell-based LAMH Recycle Ltd is a Revolve-accredited social enterprise with charitable status that provides training and employment opportunities for people with mental ill health. It offers PC sales and service, can recycling and training. 

Joe Fulton, Operations Manager at LAMH Recycle, said:

“Every year, particularly at this time, thousands of perfectly good pieces of computer equipment is either thrown out or consigned to gather dust in lofts or garages. As a REVOLVE-accredited organisation, we repair and refurbish much of this equipment for reuse in the local community, whether by local voluntary groups or low-income households who are not able to afford High Street prices for new computers and electronic devices. We find a good home for unwanted equipment and, in most cases, this ‘new home’ is one which has previously been priced out of this particular product range.”

  • Remade in Edinburgh is working for full Revolve accreditation and repairs and reconditions electrical items for sale, as well as offering training in repair.

Sophie Unwin, Founder, Remade in Edinburgh, said:

“Remade in Edinburgh is the only organisation in Scotland to focus on teaching technology repair skills. Set up in 2011 as a community group we now sell quality refurbished laptops and offer computer repair appointments and textile workshops from our shop in central Edinburgh and campaign for goods to be built to last. 

“We want to be an antidote to disposable culture by providing practical skills and educating people about where things come from and where things go to. Our mission is to provide people with the skills and confidence to prevent goods going to waste or buying new unnecessarily.”

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