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Waste electrical ‘instruments’ to encourage gadget-gripped Britons to recycle


The Really Rubbish Orchestra and Hear Me Now! Performance

December 03, 2009, Press Dispensary. With the UK public predicted to spend £7.3bn on electricals in the run up to Christmas this year, a new survey from Recycle Now has revealed that more than a third of us (35 per cent) still believe we can't recycle the small electrical and electronic goods we are replacing, such as kettles, games consoles, phones and garden power tools.  

But with 80 per cent saying we’d make more effort to recycle if we knew we could, Recycle Now is teaming up with The Really Rubbish Orchestra and BBC Last Choir Standing finalists Hear Me Now! on 1 December for a special concert in Covent Garden to raise awareness that small waste electricals do have value and can be recycled.

Recycle Now’s latest survey of 1,500 UK adults reveals that just under 30 per cent of us – particularly young people and women – simply throw broken or unwanted items away in the rubbish, whereas if we switched to recycling these items we could divert over 100,000 tonnes of valuable waste electricals from landfill each year, weighing the equivalent of 14,000 double decker buses.  

The survey also indicates that people over 35 are 50 per cent more likely than those under 35 to have recycled at least one small electrical item, and men are almost 20 per cent more likely than women.  But despite the hundreds of recycling collection centres that are able to receive waste electronics, a staggering 41 per cent of people have never recycled a small appliance in their life even though almost a third of respondents changed their kettle in the past twelve months (29 per cent) and one in four swapped mobile phones (25 per cent).

With the UK population projected to spend £7.3bn in total, or £144 per head, on electricals in the last quarter of this year alone, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the possibilities of recycling electronic waste, especially over the Christmas period when many of us will receive new goods to replace broken or unwanted items.

In this unique event designed to encourage more of us to recycle our old unwanted or broken small electrical goods this season, Hear Me Now! will perform carols accompanied by The Really Rubbish Orchestra playing a number of unique, electronic instruments that have been built out of electronic waste such as an old telephone receiver, a walkman and a computer scanner. The aim of the event is to highlight that broken or unwanted items are not just waste – they have a value and can be recycled into other useful items.

Maurice Cairnduff, co-founder of the Really Rubbish Orchestra said: “We are delighted to be able to use our expertise to help Recycle Now raise awareness about recycling electrical waste in a fun and creative way. It is quite amazing what you can make from very little. We are really looking forward to the gig and hope people will come down to support us and Recycle Now’s campaign.”

Gerrard Fisher from Recycle Now said: “Our aim is to inform people in a fun way how and where to recycle their small electricals. At Christmas and New Year many of us choose to buy new appliances, or receive them a gifts and don’t know what to do with the old ones.

“The Recycle Now website is a fantastic resource with useful information on how and what to recycle. It also has a helpful postcode finder, which locates all the recycling facilities in your area, and a list showing which retailers take back old electrical goods. All the information is available on the website, and we are hoping that the Really Rubbish experience will get people in the festive spirit but also raise awareness and encourage more of us to recycle our electrical waste over the Christmas period and into the future.”

To find out more about recycling in the UK including what you can recycle and where to recycle, please visit the Recycle Now website on www.recyclenow.com/electricals

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Notes for editors
Background to the survey:
The survey for Recycle Now was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 12/11/ 2009 and 18/11/2009 amongst a nationally representative sample of 1514 UK adults aged 16+. Opinion Matters adheres to and follows the codes of the MRS (Market Research Society) and are fully registered and compliant with the Data Protection Registrar.

Survey headlines:
o A 1/3  of people (35%) believe electrical goods can’t be recycled
o Men are more likely to know that waste electricals can be recycled than women (71% to 61%)
o Older people are more likely to recognise that electricals can be recycled than young people (16-24: 58%; 25-34: 63%; 35-44: 64%; 45-55: 65%; 55+: 67%)
o 28% of people with broken or replaced small electrical items typically throw them away in the bin with their rubbish
o 41% of people have never recycled an electrical item
o Women are more likely than men to have never recycled an electrical item (45% to 35%); conversely, men are more likely than women to have recycled at least one electrical item (65% to 55%)
o Young people are more likely to have never recycled an electrical item than older people (16-24: 67%; 25-34: 58%; 35-44: 40%; 45-55: 36%; 55+: 34%)
o More than a third of people (35%) say they don’t know where to take electricals to be recycled
o Kettle and mobile phones top the list for goods that have been replaced in the past year (29% of people have replaced a kettle and 25% a mobile phone)
o Women are slightly more likely to just throw away electricals goods in their rubbish than men (30% compared with 26%)
o 83% would make more of an effort to recycle electricals in the future having been made aware they could

Latest Environment Agency data on recycling small electricals:
Latest figures indicate that as of June 2009, 1.27 million tonnes of electricals were bought in the UK. Of these figures, 480,000t of the electricals bought were small items (irons, kettles, games consoles, hair straighteners, computers, electric hedge trimmers etc) and 70,000t was collected for recycling, which is 14.5%.

Christmas retail predictions:
Verdict report – UK Retail: Christmas 2009 forecast – what’s in store?

Waste electrical instruments developed by The Really Rubbish Orchestra
o Plank/skateboard slide guitar and practice amplifier (telephone / portable tape / computer speakers)
o Scanner pianner (computer scanner and waste metal instrument tuned in the key of C (for Chaos!))
o Amplified drums (audio cabinet speakers and amplifier)
o Vocals microphone & stand (internal computer speaker and ex-office lighting standard lamp)
o Percussion (computer keyboard)
o Cuica (Brazilian friction drum) (electric kettle)
o The Really Rubbish Orchestra ‘bandemonium’ music composition environment (all the above plus walkman tape players, portable cd players, computer speakers, toy keyboard, electronic toy)
o Guitar amplifier, lesley speaker & spring reverb (domestic audio amp, music centre cabinet, record deck, car audio speakers, electronic packaging waste, internal computer speakers, hairdryer heating element, portable tape player, metal computer cabinet)

Recycle Now and WRAP:
1 WRAP helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.
2 Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
3 Working in seven key areas (Construction, Retail, Manufacturing, Organics, Business Growth, Behavioural Change, and Local Authority Support), WRAP’s work focuses on market development and support to drive forward recycling and materials resource efficiency within these sectors, as well as wider communications and awareness activities including the multi-media national Recycle Now campaign for England.
4 Recycle Now is a campaign to encourage people in England to recycle more things more often. Six out of ten of us now describe ourselves as committed recyclers, compared to less than half of us when the campaign began in 2004.
5 More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk and for more information on the Recycle Now campaign visit www.recyclenow.com

For further information, please contact:
Amy Jackson, WRAP
Tel: 01295 817863
Site: www.wrap.org.uk
Grant Richmond-Coggan, PR Consultant
02070 257517

Media contacts

Amy Jackson
Tel: 01295 817863
Site: www.wrap.org.uk
Grant Richmond-Coggan, PR Consultant
02070 257517

Recycle electrical recycling

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