Energy efficient electrical goods

Computers, TVs and electronic gadgets require large amounts of energy and raw materials to produce, and dealing with electronic waste is a growing challenge. By cutting down on energy use and disposing of unwanted equipment carefully, you can reduce the harmful impact of electronic goods on the environment.

Buy energy efficient equipment

The following tips can help you choose energy saving electrical equipment:

  • smaller products usually use less electricity than bigger ones of the same type
  • look for the EU energy label, which rates appliances on an energy efficiency scale and shows how much energy they use
  • laptops use about one-sixth of the energy of a desktop computer while running
  • look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label, the Ecolabel or the Energy Star and TCO labels for IT equipment
  • generally, gas is a greener choice than electricity for cooking
  • some kettles have unnecessary features that use up extra electricity, like lights or 'keep warm' functions - so try to avoid these
  • The TCO label - TCO Development website  
  • Home appliances  -  Energy Saving Trust website

Buy refurbished electrical goods

Some shops sell refurbished white good such as fridges and freezers.

Buying refurbished means you can:

  • prevent valuable resources from going to landfill
  • help your local council meet their recycling and reuse targets
  • save energy and raw materials
  • help create and sustain local jobs

Look for the label

When buying a new appliance, there are two key energy labels to look out for:

  • the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo can only be used on the most energy efficient products, usually the top 20 per cent of those available
  • the EU energy label has to be shown on all white goods and ovens in the UK; it grades products from A (best) to G (worst) for energy use (the scale now goes up to A++ for fridges and freezers)

When buying new electrical items

When you buy a new electrical item, ask the shop where you buy it how they will help you recycle the item you're replacing. Under the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, they must either:

  • accept in-store, free of charge an electronic item similar to the new item you're buying
  • tell you where you can take the old item for recycling free of charge

Some shops also offer a ‘collection on delivery’ service and will take away your old electrical items when delivering new items.This isn't part of the WEEE Regulations, so you may be charged for this service.

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