Safely disposing of hazardous materials

By Dan Plummer 29 Sep 2017

Many household appliances contain materials that may be hazardous to the environment – or to your health. Whenthe time comes to dispose of them, you'll need to know what the safest way is. In this guide, we'll go through what kind of dangerous materials you might find in some common appliances – and where to get rid of them.


What's inside your appliances?

Recently, regulations on what hazardous materials can be used in appliances have become stricter, but there are still some in use today that you need to watch out for. Older appliances are more likely to contain these kinds of things too, so you should take extra care with these.

  • Old TVs: they often contain lead and cadmium, which are both hazardous to health if they leak into soil or water. Older CRT TVs are more likely to contain them than newer TVs
  • Older fridges and freezers: these contain harmful CFCs, which must be removed by a specialist before they are recycled
  • Air conditioning units or dehumidifiers: the coolant systems contain chemicals called 'hydrofluorocarbons', which are harmful to health
  • Appliances with automatic or tilt shut-off: items such as irons or hair dryers, which turn off if they overheat, sometimes contain mercury
  • Laptop, tablet and mobile phone batteries: these contain harmful substances and potentially hazardous materials
  • Old batteries: these can contain mercury, zinc, nickel cadmium, lithium and lead – all of which can be poisonous
  • Energy saving light bulbs: these bulbs contain mercury


Disposing of appliances

Your local recycling centre will normally take these items from you, so that they can be adequately treated before the recycling process. Small household appliances, and things like light bulbs and batteries, are easily disposed of at these places.

For larger appliances, such as fridges and freezers, we can recycle them for you free of charge at your local Currys PC World. If you can't get it to a store, you can arrange for us to collect it at the same time as the delivery of your new kit.

Before disposing of any computers, laptops, tablets or mobile phones, you should make sure to remove any of your personal data from them.

Hopefully that's everything you need to know, but if you need any extra help, you can get in touch with our Team Knowhow Experts here.

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