The British Metals Recycling Association issues reminder: Do not place electrical items in the bin

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), the trade association representing the metals recycling industry, has highlighted the risk of placing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in household waste wheelie bins or recycling boxes.

Whilst the majority of the country is staying at home in line with current Government COVID-19 guidance, workers in the waste sector will be working tirelessly to keep the streets clean and free from rubbish, vermin and related disease. They help ensure that general waste is safely disposed of and our home recyclables (tin cans, drinks cans, plastic packaging, paper etc) get back into the circular economy.

If, as householders, we dispose of waste electrical appliances in our general waste or home recycling box/bin, we risk exposing these workers to fire, explosion or electrocution. This is because household waste collections are not designed to handle electrical items, many of which may contain a lithium ion battery (even some items that have a plug such as DVD players, games consoles etc) that, when tampered with or crushed (for example by a rubbish truck’s compactor), can explode and/or cause a fire.

WEEE that ends up in the household waste collection and recycling centres (HWRC) can be extremely dangerous: many of the recent fires at waste sites can be attributed to WEEE, and specifically the presence of lithium ion batteries. In addition, harmful substances can leak out and cause soil and water pollution; harming wildlife and potentially human health.

James Kelly, CEO of the BMRA said: “WEEE or e-waste is one of the fastest growing ‘waste’ streams in the UK and requires specialist handling and treatment. When not dealt with correctly it poses a risk not only to the environment, but for the workers that handle it. Let’s not cause any additional risk to these workers at this already trying time.

“Ensuring that WEEE is recycled responsibly means that more material enters the circular economy, can be recycled and as much as possible avoids landfill.”

WEEE can include:
• large household appliances, e.g. fridges, ovens, and washing machines.
• small household appliances, e.g. kettles, food processors, toasters, and radios.
• IT and telecommunications equipment, e.g. tablets, mobile/smart phones and computers

Mr Kelly added: “We are encouraging people to follow the Government advice and stay at home, and to urge them to keep hold of their WEEE until such time the current restrictions on movement are relaxed or removed. Once this happens, householders will be able, once again, to take their old electrical items to a local HWRC or a BMRA member that can handle this type of material.”

Find a metal recycler near you: Call ahead to check the type of material taken.

About the BMRA and metals recycling:
The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) is the trade association representing the £7 billion UK Metal Recycling sector. The BMRA represents over 270 organisations that trade and process over 10 million tonnes of ferrous and non-ferrous metals every year, including: steel, aluminium and copper.

It is made up of businesses of all sizes, including small family owned businesses and large international companies. Member activities include collecting, sorting, shearing, baling, shredding, media separation, as well as reuse, casting, and fabrication.

Members recycle a wide range of products, such as end-of-life vehicles, packaging, batteries, domestic appliances, building materials and electronic goods.

1. The UK metal recycling industry is so efficient at recovering metal from end-of-life products that more is recovered than can be consumed domestically. As a result, over 80 per cent of all ‘waste’ metal is now destined for export. This means we are competing against suppliers from the USA and Japan who are not required to characterise recycled metal as waste.

2. Every tonne of recycled steel saves: 1.5 tonnes of iron ore, 0.5 tonnes of coal, 70% of the energy, 40% of the water, 75% of CO2 emissions, and 0.97 tonnes of CO2.

3. Recycling of metals is also the major contributor to the UK’s achievement of targets under EU Directives such as end-of-life vehicles and packaging.

4. In 2017, the UK exported over 9 million tonnes of recovered ferrous (iron and steel) metal and approximately 800,000 thousand tonnes of non-ferrous metal (such as aluminium and copper).

Members of the public can use the BMRA website to find a metal recycler –

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What A Business Can Do To Improve Their Carbon Footprint

The effect that people and companies have on the environment is an increasing concern with a lot more focus being put on this.  Lots of companies are already doing a lot in terms of reducing waste, recycling and structure insulation to ensure they are playing their part.  People think that if they are too weak to do anything and make an impact, however, if everyone had that view, we would be heading for a catastrophic outcome in terms of things such as global warming.

Here are some of the things that companies can do to help make a difference.

Insulation And Energy

If your company is situated in an older building and there is a risk of heating loss, then the energy efficiency is low and should be looked at.  There are many internal improvements that companies can do to better support this, for example, windows, doors, etc.  If constructing a new building then you may wish to consider metal buildings.  These types of building are not only far easier to construct but they are oozing with opportunity in terms of insulation. The insulation can come in all sorts of thickness and prices.  It is important to review this carefully as you can get great insulation for steel metal buildings that may set you off at the beginning but the long term savings is really good.   Even when these buildings are being constructed there is minimum waste as the steel can be purchased in packs (which also makes it a lot easier to actually assemble).  Smart meters are a good way for employers to see exactly what their energy spend is and how to try and keep on top of it.


It sounds really simple, but recycling is a good way to get involved.  You will notice that in most reputable companies nowadays, they actually have different types of bins for all different types of waste.  This will normally include; plastic, paper, glass and general waste.   These are easy to get in place in the company but are only effective if the people in the area respect the segregation and comply.  Getting recycled waste mixed is not effective.  Companies can sometimes make some money out of this as people are looking to purchase recycled waste.


Although we are now beginning to see things like electric cars on the streets, driving to work is still the most common mode of transport for most people.  This is mainly down to convenience but there are many things companies are doing to try and encourage other modes of transport.  There are cycle to work schemes (some even where the company actually provide the bike), there are subsidised public transport schemes and also, share a car scheme.  These simple initiatives supported in the workplace can help change cultures and behaviours in terms of travelling and help make a much bigger, effective impact overall.

Consider making these changes in your business to improve your carbon footprint.

Upcoming Changes In NYC Do Not Favor Small Businesses

Small business that are in large cities have always faced an uphill struggle. You’re competing with the largest corporations in the world and many times you are fighting it out on the street. Consumers are reluctant to try smaller brands and give small businesses a chance to prove themselves because many who work in large cities are used to going with the larger corporations. On the other hand you also have a slew of traffic each and every single day so you do have a higher chance of catching something. Consumers can be slowly won over but you can speed that process up by simply creating high quality products. This however costs money as any product that isn’t properly invested in will fall short of the mark. But it’s always the small things that get in the way. Waste cost management being the piranha that just isn’t satisfied being one of them.

News from NYC

Small businesses have always used other small businesses to help them grow. The prices are competitive, you don’t get robbed in broad daylight and you have more control over what you do. In New York City many small businesses like delis, independent clothing stores, fruit and vegetable grocers and manufacturing plants are going to face higher prices for their waste services. A new plan seems to involve sectioning areas of the city and handing out contracts to waste management companies so only one company is collecting in one area. This means larger waste companies are likely to get the contracts from the local government. Inevitably if you one have one choice and that company can afford to lose your business, you’re kind of stuck in a pay up or shut up scenario. This plan has just been leaked and is already facing small business backlash. The lack of competition means big business wins automatically, crushing the small business in it’s wake.

Do it yourself

Yet again this is another reminder of why small businesses truly need to become more and more independent. Relying on outsourcing too much can be detrimental to your business because when that drip fails, you are left high and dry. Consider buying equipment that will help you manage your own waste such as baler machines which can compress hundreds of pounds of cardboard boxes and also foam. Packaging and parcel materials are abundant in small businesses because you are doing much of these things yourself. Thus this kind of machine can make giant cubes of your waste, ready to be transported to recycling plants. Of course, you walk away with a pretty penny for your business to such plants too. Implementing your own systems of less waste throughout the business has never been a more prudent idea.

New York used to be a place for small businesses to fairly compete with the larger businesses. But lately with the current attitude toward business and local governance, it seems like there’s one more thing that is keeping small businesses from being competitive. As ever the little guy will adapt and come back stronger but it must start with making changes to how you manage your own problems.