The UK Government has proposed that retailers and producers finance the home collection of electronic waste (e-waste) for recycling from 2026.

The proposal is intended to provide British households with more convenient options for disposing of e-waste during their regular shopping trips.

Under the new plan, the financial responsibility for e-waste disposal will be shifted from taxpayers to retailers.

Major retailers will introduce free collection drop points for electrical items in-store.

In addition, retailers and online sellers will collect unwanted large electrical items like fridges or cookers when delivering a replacement.

The proposed measures are a response to the significant amount of small electrical items, nearly half a billion, that were sent to landfill last year.

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By GlobalData

It also comes after a study on public attitudes and behaviours revealed that around three-quarters of UK adults are willing to recycle their electricals at their local supermarket, electrical retailer or charity retailer.

UK Recycling Minister Robbie Moore said: “Every year millions of household electricals across the UK end up in the bin rather than being correctly recycled or reused. This is a sheer waste of our natural resources and has to stop. 

“We all have a drawer of old tech somewhere that we don’t know what to do with and our proposals will ensure these gadgets are easy to dispose of without the need for a trip to your local tip. Our plans will also drive the move to a more circular economy and create new jobs by making all recycling simpler.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a ten-week consultation, during which, it will engage with manufacturers, retailers and small businesses to come up with the most efficient and accessible options.

In July this year, Defra launched a consultation on the draft regulations for its extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging.