Waste electrical and electronic equipment icon
Waste electrical and electronic equipment

Recycling benefit

Amount recycled
CO2 avoided
Estimated disposal saving
Reported as exported

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is becoming a ubiquitous feature of the UK’s waste as a modern consumer society, with around 1.3 million tonnes of electrical goods thrown out every year, some 38 per cent of which is recycled. Material recovery of WEEE has progressed in recent years, with 75 per cent of WEEE arising in 2010 being re-used or having materials recovered successfully.

Large household appliances, such as fridges and washing machines, currently make up 40 per cent of WEEE, but it also includes TVs, small domestic appliances, electronic toys and other electrical goods.

WEEE recycling is tricky due to the diversity of materials that make up the products (some of which are hazardous, like mercury or cadmium) and the diversity of the products themselves. While recycling processes vary hugely due to these different materials, most involve separating an appliance’s individual components so that they can be taken away for onward processing.

The below process is a simplified version of the WEEE recycling process, given the diversity of processes used to recycle different electrical appliances.

You can learn more about how to recycle WEEE, such as electrical items and white goods, on the Wales Recycles website.

Where does waste electrical and electronic equipment recycling go?

Top countries (selected materials) - 2022/23

Top UK recycling destinations

Country Tonnes
Wales 7,969t
England 7,889t
Company Country Tonnes
Sims Group UK Ltd Wales 5,713t
Sims Group UK Ltd England 3,788t
Mekatek Ltd Wales 1,170t
Environcom England 993t
European Metal Recycling Ltd England 827t
S Norton and Co Ltd England 817t
P A Moody Recycling Limited England 566t
unspecified England 375t
MBG House Wales 339t
European Metal Recycling Ltd Wales 295t
AO Recycling England 256t
Crest Co-operative Ltd Wales 210t

Top world recycling destinations

Company Country Tonnes
unspecified Turkey 480t
unspecified unspecified 52t
unspecified Portugal 49t
unspecified Italy 49t
Soex Germany 26t
unspecified Belgium 24t
unspecified Bulgaria 24t
unspecified Finland 24t
unspecified France 24t
unspecified Germany 24t
unspecified Norway 24t
Inter Alloys unspecified 23t