Information on how to safely dispose of small electricals in West Sussex.
You must not dispose of small electricals in either your recycling or waste bins at home. This is because they often contain hazardous materials which can start a fire when the items are crushed during the collection and sorting process.
Our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and our Mechanical Biological Treatment Plant (MBT) are where your recycling and waste go for processing after they have been collected. Between August 2022 and March 2023 they have had over 24 fires because of small electricals. Our district and boroughs have also seen a significant amount of fires in their collection vehicles because of things like small electricals and disposable vapes.
These fires put staff at risk, damage our facilities and vehicles, and take up valuable time and resource from the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service crews.
Small electrical items also contain valuable materials that can be recycled, reducing emissions associated with the production of these materials.
All of our recycling centres have a separate container for the recycling of small electricals and residents are encouraged to take these items there for safe disposal. Alternatively, all of the District and Borough councils in West Sussex offer free kerbside collections of small electricals.
This page offers information on what is classed as a small electrical, how to make use of the district and borough kerbside collections and how to dispose of them at our recycling centres.
Disposable vapes are legally classed as small electricals and need to be disposed of as such. They contain batteries and other valuable electrical materials.
Disposable vapes are a newer material and are becoming increasingly more popular. Because of this, they are quickly becoming the biggest small electrical being placed in the wrong bin and subsequently found in collection vehicles and at the MRF and MBT. It is estimated that in the UK, 4.3 million people now vape with over three million disposable vapes thrown away every week.
Littering of vapes is also an issue. It is estimated that millions of vapes are found littered in the UK every week. Littering of these materials can have devastating impacts on our environment and wildlife. Please ensure you are taking your vapes home with you and disposing of them correctly through your kerbside small electrical collections, by taking them back to the shop they were bought (note: not all stores offer this take back service so please check with your local shop for more information) or by taking them to your recycling centre.
We urge residents to make use of the safe, small electrical disposal options available to them in West Sussex - you could also opt for a reusable alternative.
Kerbside small electrical collections in West Sussex
If your small electrical items are beyond repair or reuse, you can take them to your local recycling centre. Some of the districts and boroughs in West Sussex offer kerbside small electrical collection. More information on how to use these services can be found below:
Arun District Council
You can recycle old or broken electrical items by placing them next to your rubbish bin/sacks on your normal rubbish collection day. Items must fit into a standard size carrier bag which you will need to provide. More information can be found on the Arun District Council website.
Adur and Worthing Councils
You can recycle old or broken electrical items by placing them next to your rubbish bin or recycling bin on your normal collection day. Items must fit into a standard size carrier bag which you will need to provide. More information can be found on the Adur and Worthing Councils website.
Crawley Borough Council
You can recycle old or broken electrical items by placing them next to your rubbish bin on your normal collection day. Items must fit into a standard size carrier bag which you will need to provide. More information can be found on the Crawley Borough Council website.
Chichester District Council
Kerbside small electrical collections are offered to 75% of households in the district as part of CDCs textiles, small electrical and coffee pod recycling service. You can recycle old or broken electrical items by booking a collection online and leaving them out for recycling on their designated day. To see if you are eligible visit the Chichester District Council website.
Horsham District Council
You can recycle your old or broken small electrical collections by booking a collection online and leaving them out for recycling on their designated day. To book your collection visit the Horsham District Council website.
Mid Sussex District Council
You can recycle old or broken electrical items by placing them next to your rubbish bin on your normal collection day. Items must fit into a standard size carrier bag which you will need to provide. More information can be found on the Mid Sussex District Council website.
What small electricals can and can't be recycled via a kerbside collection
- Air purifiers, fresheners and diffusers
- Small household appliances (for example, blenders, coffee machines, kettles, toasters and irons)
- Clocks (including alarm clocks)
- Extension cables and other cables
Small fans, fan heaters and electric blankets
- Disposable vapes
- Lighting (for example, bike lights, ceiling lights, fairy lights, string lights and torches)
- Electrical grooming items (for example, toothbrushes, hair styling tools and clippers)
- Electrical toys (for example, games consoles, controllers and other toys that move or light up)
- Phones, smartwatches’, MP3 players/iPods and tablets
- Visual and audio equipment (for example, cameras, go pros, headphones and microphones)
- Radios and speakers
- Televisions and IT accessories (for example, DVD players, remote controls, keyboards, mouses and printers)
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
- Batteries (please ensure you remove all batteries before recycling any devices, if safe to do so)
- Microwave ovens
- Energy saving lightbulbs and florescent tubes
- Glass or ceramic items (for example, slow cookers and glass kettles)
- Large printers (including those with scanners), ink cartridges and toners
- Items bigger than a selected size carrier bag
Find information on what can be recycled in the small electrical container at our recycling centres.
Did you know?
- In the UK we discard over 155,000 tonnes of electricals every year.
- The Environmental Services Association says that battery and small electrical fires, cost fire services and local authorities up to £158 million a year.
- Batteries and small electricals thrown in household rubbish bins cause about 700 fires every year in dustcarts and waste-processing centres across the UK.
- It is estimated that millions of vapes are found littered in the UK every week. Littering of these materials can have devastating impacts on our environment and wildlife.
Watch the National Fire Chiefs Council's short video on the dangers of incorrect small electrical disposal.