Posted by Ros Connors

The impact of FastTech

New research shows the UK’s consumption of small ‘FastTech’ electricals is becoming an issue set to outstrip Fast Fashion, in terms of the amount sent to landfill. FastTech refers to everyday small electrical items, from headphones to cables, decorative lights to mini fans and even single use vapes. These items have a short lifespan and cost, on average, £4. This means they are often seen as ‘disposable’, even when they’re not designed to be.

The Recycle Your Electricals campaign by Material Focus, to mark International E-Waste Day (this Saturday 14th October), reveals over half a billion FastTech items were purchased in the last year alone  – one every sixteen seconds. Nearly a half a billion of these (471m) end up in landfill per annum. With annual spend on FastTech passing the £2.8 billion mark for the first time in 2023 too, Material Focus is sharing a timely reminder that anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled.

The UK’s biggest selling FastTech items are vapes (over 260m bought in the past year), solar lights (31m bought), charging cables (26m bought) and LED lights (29m bought). The average UK adult has purchased nine FastTech items in the last year but throws away eight (90% thrown away).

Ros spoke to decluttering expert Vicky Silverthorn and Scott Butler, executive director at Material Focus.

Ads help us keep this site online