Why we think the world of appliances is a bit of a s**t-show – It’s all about e-waste…

Do you know how much e-waste we throw away in large appliances in the UK each year? It’s about 150,000 tonnes with only about 35% being reused or refurbished!  Hold on to that thought!

At Intelligent Appliances it’s a dream of ours to shake up how people view appliances.  We want to help move away from buying the latest bit of “stuff”, using it for a while, and then chucking it out.  We need to look after our planet and not be part of the problem by adding yet another appliance onto the local landfill site.

If I think back to when I was growing up, my parents had the same fridge for about 25 years. It was truly dead when they replaced it.  Things are very different these days; after 3 years bits start falling off appliances or the electronics start to go a bit wonky, after 5 years we look at them as some sort of antique relic which needs to be replaced by a much shinier version.

We believe that when the nice people come and take away our now-totally-and-utterly-knackered and not-really-very-old washing machine or cooker, then everything is fine and dandy as it’ll be recycled somehow.

What really happens is very different. Over 70% of large household e-waste in the UK will end up being broken down into scrap parts, some of which will end up being recycled. Most of which won’t.  That’s why it’s a s**t-show.

This is the bit where you should start reading between your fingers with your other fingers stuck firmly in your ears. E-waste isn’t like general household waste. E-waste is full of scary and toxic components that hazardous. Really hazardous; we’re talking mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium and lithium. It’s not hard to see what happens when all of this lot ends up in landfill – toxic chemicals and pollutants get into the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere and attack our planet – yikes.

Here’s a stat for you. EU countries alone have discarded approximately 9.45 million tonnes of electrical appliances, only 35% of which have ended up in official recycling systems.

Or how about the fact that more than half our global e-waste, a massive 60%, is made up of discarded kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment – with washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and electric ovens generating 11.8 million tonnes of waste alone.

Back to that 150,000 tonnes figure; after all that research and getting our heads round what was happening, we really couldn’t bear the thought of an Intelligent Appliance ending up in landfill.

So, we’ve found an end-of-life recycling solution by partnering with the brilliant lifesavers at a homelessness charity called Emmaus.

Now, your Intelligent Appliance doesn’t need to go to the great scrapheap in the sky (or down to your local tip).  Just get in touch with your local community and they’ll come and collect your appliance (and any others you’re not using as well as any furniture that needs a great home). Before you can say “what a fantastic idea”, your Intelligent Appliance will have been refurbished and will either be sold through one of the Emmaus stores to raise funds or will go to one of their companions in their accommodation, helping them get back on their feet.  Your appliance gets a new, loving owner and we’ve all done our bit together to end homelessness. Happy days.

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