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The top 5 excuses for not recycling e-waste – and why you should forget about them

Take the old toaster or hair dryer to a disposal point? That’s too much effort – and there’s nothing to be gained from the scrap anyway. Or is there? We clear up the 5 most common excuses for not recycling e-waste.

Unless they are repaired or sold on, old electrical appliances usually get left at the back of a cupboard. Or worse still, they end up in the household waste. This is often due to common excuses based on false myths about recycling. It’s high time to finally dispel them.


Recycling myth1: Scrap is scrap and therefore worthless!

False: When it comes to disposing of old household appliances, the idea that “scrap is scrap” is widespread. Instead of taking old and broken electrical appliances to a collection point, people often stash devices away in a cupboard at home. Unfortunately, this means that the recyclable materials contained in the appliances cannot be reused. If, on the other hand, old toasters or refrigerators are properly disposed of, elements such as copper, aluminium, zinc, brass, iron and plastic can be recovered. After recycling, these materials are put back into circulation so that they can be used to make new appliances. This chain only works if e-waste is disposed of via a collection point and not as household waste.


Recycling myth2: Repairing an old appliance makes more sense than buying a new one!

False: If an electronic device is broken, people often have it repaired for the sake of the environment. But this is not always better than buying a new appliance. Household appliances such as washing machines or refrigerators that are more than ten years old are best replaced with new ones. This is because the latest appliances are more energy efficient and use less water. The situation is different for devices such as smartphones or laptops, where more energy is consumed during production than in daily use. If the display of a mobile phone cracks, it makes more sense to have it repaired than to get a new device.


Recycling myth3: Disposing of electrical appliances will cost me a lot of money!

False: As well as being put off by the effort involved, many people are worried about paying high disposal costs. Thanks to the advance recycling fee, the cost is already included in the purchase price of each electrical appliance. Anyone wishing to dispose of e-waste can do so free of charge at specialist shops, provided that they sell similar appliances. It doesn’t matter whether the device was purchased there or not. Alternatively, you can take it to a SENS disposal point. You can find a nationwide overview of all SENS recycling partners here.


Recycling myth4: Whether or not I recycle my e-waste as an individual makes no difference anyway!

False: Swiss people collect around 16 kilograms of e-waste per capita every year. Switzerland benefits several times over from proper disposal and recycling within the country: imports of raw materials decrease, transport costs and emissions fall, and jobs are created. Our waste of today represents the raw materials of tomorrow. Proper disposal of e-waste by each individual very much contributes to the big picture.


Recycling myth5: My household waste is separated again before incineration anyway!

False: Although this myth is particularly persistent, it is not true. Our household waste ends up in the incinerator – without being sorted first. That makes it all the more important to separate glass, metal, cardboard, paper, PET and, of course, e-waste when disposing of it.