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Merseyside bid to recycle precious metals (15 Jan 2013)

Merseyside recycling centres are giving away free heavy recycling bags in exchange for unwanted or broken electrical items under a scheme designed to stop precious metals ending up in landfill.

The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) scheme involves all 14 Merseyside Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and aims to recycle precious metals used in electrical and electronic items.

From this weekend visitors to the centres will get a free heavy duty recycling bag in exchange for broken or unused small electrical and electronic waste items brought to a Recycling Centre – anything from hairdryers, hair straighteners and children’s electronic toys to radios, DVD players, mobile phones, kettles, toasters, power tools.

Councillor Joe DeAsha, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “If you’ve got an electrical item that is broken or no longer used, drop it off at a local Recycling Centre. Instead of gathering dust and cluttering up your house, it’ll be stripped down and the parts recycled.”

Many electrical items such as mobile phones, computer consoles and PDA’s contain valuable materials. Precious finite metals (those that have a more limited supply) include gold, silver, copper and indium (used in liquid crystal displays). These are valuable in the recycling process and can be reused in new products.

HWRCs are one of the few places that householders can dispose of their electrical items.

The bag giveaway scheme is being delivered by MRWA’s contractor Veolia Environmental Services. Alex Paterson, Director of Veolia Environmental Services Merseyside and Halton, said: “At present small electrical items are commonly seen in the residual waste and in the kerbside dry recyclable containers. This means they do not get recycled and may end up in landfill. The blue bag will provide an easy way to collect and recycle these items and therefore improve recycling rates on Merseyside.”

Carl Beer, Chief Executive of MRWA, said: “The bag offer is always very popular and works because it is a way of rewarding good recycling habits.”

Bag supplies are limited so will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. Only one bag is available per person per visit.

ENDS

Picture Captions:

Image shows MRWA chief executive Carl Beer (left) and Councillor Joe DeAsha, Chairperson of MRWA, launching the initiative.

Notes to editor:

1. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) facts:
– On average, each person in the UK buys three new electrical items each year or 173 million nationally.
– For every 7kg of small electricals bought last year – the average amount per person – only a fraction (1.3kg) was sent to be recycled
– Recycling electricals is environmentally friendly – unwanted electricals and electronics can be recycled and contain really valuable raw materials. For example, one iron contains enough steel to produce 13 steel cans
Figures courtesy of Recycle Now.

2. What exactly can you recycle? Below are the four main categories of small electrical items that can be recycled:

• High-tech electronic devices – can include phones, mobile phones, remote controls, chargers, radios, VCRs, digi-boxes, speakers, hi-fi units, electronic toys.
• Personal care – can include hairdryers, hair straighteners, electric toothbrushes, hair trimmers, shavers, hair curlers, facial saunas, power showers.
• Small kitchen appliances – can include kettles, toasters, irons, blenders, smoothie makers, sandwich toasters, coffee machines, food processors, bread makers, electric scales.
• DIY and garden electrical – can include drills, power tools, garden shears, strimmers, sanders, angle grinders, chainsaws, lawnmowers, garden sprinklers.

Look out for the pink signage at your local Recycling Centre which shows you what goes where.

3. Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (formerly Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority) is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside’s residents. Members of the media can contact:

John Lally
John.lally@merseysidewda.gov.uk
0151 255 1444