Material Focus launched a campaign in Glasgow that focuses on recycling and reusing e-waste. This solution could help slow down the impact of rare earth mineral extraction. (Image Credit: Remade Network)


Material Focus, a non-profit organization, launched the Recycle your Electricals campaign in Glasgow to help recycle, repair or scrap some of the 527 million small electronics from UK households. The campaign utilizes local repair shops, state campaigns, and consumers that donate devices to anyone needing them and remove valuable resources from machines.  So far, the Recycle your Electricals campaign is seeing a huge turnout.


“For too long, consumers have been blamed for not reusing and repairing enough when the facilities don’t exist for people to make better choices. This project seeks to change this. Huge thanks to Glasgow City Council’s Social Enterprise Fund and the Recycle your Electricals Campaign for their support,” said Sophie Unwin, Director of Remade Network. Remade is offering its Tech Drop service, allowing anyone to bring phones, laptops, and home electronics to one of its drop-off points. The goal is to collect 3,500 electronic devices over the next year. Estimates suggest that 25% of these could be repaired and reused while 75% is recycled.


Remade operates repair and digital services across Glasgow and donated over 1,000 desktop PCs from landfills, government offices, and households to over 50 local charity and community groups. Since 2020, the social enterprise has created twelve jobs and diverted 250 tons of carbon dioxide. It also plans on doubling that amount over the next year.


Material Focus estimates that the electrical components inside unwanted devices amount to approximately $24 billion. Extracting these rare minerals from the earth puts a strain on the climate due to CO2 emissions, and it comes with a hefty price tag for companies undergoing the process.         


“This project is vital to ensuring that we make good use of our old electricals,” said Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus. “Whether they are re-used or recycled—these items contain valuable materials that will otherwise be lost forever. Our research has shown that in the UK, we are hoarding over 527 million small electrical items, an average of 20 per household.”


Remade Network and Material Focus also receive funds from WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment), which sets the framework for manufacturers to design products that can be recycled. So far, Materials Focus has over 2,500 points for people to send their electronics. This service has already been used by 127,000 people.


Electronic waste has become a huge problem on a global scale, but that’s mainly due to a non-existent large-scale solution. Harvesting and selling old electronic components to manufacturers at an inexpensive cost provides a great technique toward keeping rare minerals in the ground and prices down in the stores.


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