A new campaign highlights the eco-issues attached to one of our favourite foods; with the help of a Giant Toaster

Media release, 06 Oct 2022

  • 11 million toasters are thrown away or hoarded each year – giant toaster launched to raise awareness of recycling electricals

There really is nothing quite like the smell and taste of fresh toast and the people of the UK love it. In advance of International E-Waste Day on 14th October and Recycling Week on 17th – 23rd October, new research has found that across the UK we eat 40 million slices a day and the average person eats 291 slices a year.  Even though we love our toast, according to new research commissioned by Recycle Your Electricals we sometimes fall out of love with our toasters –  11.4 million are thrown away each year, when they could instead be donated to someone that needs it, or recycled.   Which is why Recycle your Electricals have launched the Love Your Old Toaster campaign encouraging the nation to donate or recycle their old toasters and to raise awareness that there are now 5,000 electrical and battery recycling points across the UK. 

To help show the people of the UK what can be done with our toasters, and all other old and unwanted small, household electricals, the Recycle Your Electricals campaign has joined forces with exciting young artist Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa, to create a giant, colourful toaster hand-painted in abstract illustrations of small household electricals, the kind of electrical items that are binned or hoarded in homes all over the UK. This toaster is not designed to make giant slices of toast (sorry to disappoint), but to create a standout, not-to-be missed drop-off point, with shoppers encouraged to bring along their old, unwanted electricals and pop them into the toaster. It has appeared in Westfield Stratford City ( 30 September to 2 October) so far and Westfield London this weekend (Shepherds Bush, 7-9 October).

Lending a helping hand to launch the “Love Your Old Toaster campaign” and also donate and recycle her old unwanted electricals is TV presenter and consumer advocate Michelle Ackerley, who unveiled the eye-catching giant toaster at Westfield Stratford City on the 30th of September. Michelle was also the first person to drop her old electricals off, popping them into the Giant Toaster. The items will be collected and taken to the nearest recycling point and or donated to Bright Sparks Repair and Reuse – a social enterprise promoting reuse, minimising waste, creating volunteering opportunities and local jobs. Actress and sustainability queen Joanna Page is also getting involved in the campaign to remind us always to recycle old electricals – and save those precious materials from being lost forever. 

Recycle Your Electrical’s research also identified that 46% of those who have thrown away a toaster did not know how or where to recycle it or were not aware that it could be recycled. The Giant Toaster is designed to change that by helping to highlight that there are over 5,000 electrical and battery recycling points across the UK, with more being added.  These recycling points can be found on the Recycle Your Electricals postcode locator – www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk

Research conducted by Opinium and commissioned by Recycle Your Electricals to support the campaign also shone a fascinating light into the nation’s toast habits…

What and when are we toasting?

Top ten things to toast are:

  • Plain white bread (45%)
  • Crumpets (40%)
  • Whole wheat bread (25%)
  • Multi-grain bread (24%)
  • Hot cross buns (21%)
  • Bagels (21%)
  • Teacakes (18%)
  • Sourdough Bread and English Muffins (both 12%) 
  • Pita bread (8%)
  • Ciabatta (5%)
  • 48% of us eat toast several times a week
  • 13% of toast eaters eat toast for lunch, but the most common is (unsurprisingly) breakfast (57%) 
  • 11% eat 3 or more slices per serving with the most popular amount to eat per serving is 2 slices (72%) 
  • Despite being seen as a millennial favourite, almost as many people aged 55+ favoured sourdough as the 18-34 year olds did (13% and 14%) 

How do you take yours? 

Top ten favourite toppings are:

  • Butter / margarine (51%)
  • Cheese (38%)
  • Jam (29%)
  • Eggs (28%)
  • Marmalade (21%)
  • Beans (20%)
  • Marmite (17%)
  • Peanut butter (15%)
  • Nutella / chocolate spread (10%)
  • Honey (9%) 

Least favourite toppings are:

  • Avocado (7%)
  • Banana (5%)
  • Smoked salmon (5%) 
  • Nothing / plain / dry (5%) 
  • Despite what Instagram shots may have you believe, Avocado is not as popular as we may think. It narrowly missed out on the top ten spot with only 7% listing it as one of their favourite toppings. However, it remains a favourite in London where 14% would opt for it as a toast topping And 14% of 18-34 year olds also said it was one of their three favourite toppings to have on toast
  • Marmalade appears to be losing popularity with 18-34 year olds (only 7%) chose it as one of their top three toppings, compared to 37% of people aged 55+. Although younger people do appear to have a sweet tooth; 23% chose Nutella / chocolate spread as one of their top three spreads compared to only 8% aged 35-54, and 2% aged 55+

Regional Results:

  • Despite the rise of tasty and trendy alternatives, plain white bread remains the favourite amongst toast eaters across the country generally, although crumpets top plain white bread in certain regions (48% in the South East and South West, 49% in the East of England, 47% in Yorkshire and Humberside and 56% in the North East) 
  • Londoners are the biggest consumers of this convenient treat, where amongst those that eat toast a total of 389 slices are eaten per person per year
  • 12% of people in the North East eat 4 or more per serving (compared to a national 4%)
  • Most frequent eaters are in Northern Ireland, where 30% eat toast at least once a day, and Wales, where 23% do it  once a day 
  • Love it or hate it? Northern Ireland votes against Marmite, with only 2% naming it as one of their favourite toppings, compared to a national average of 17%
  • How do you take yours? 49% go for a lightly browned finish, whilst 2% (1.1 million) like theirs very dark and nearly burnt
  • The trend for lightly browned toast was UK-wide, except in NI, North West, Wales and South West, where more or about the same amount of people prefer it with a darker brown finish

What becomes of our old toasters each year? 

  • 11.4 million thrown away 
  • 12 million are taken to a recycling centre 

Finally…. don’t try these at home! Weird and wonderful toppings included:

  • Avocado and chocolate spread
  • Bacon and marmalade
  • Bread (no, that isn’t a typo -) some people eat bread on top of their toast!) 
  • Pot Noodle 
  • Baked beans, cheese and half an Oxo cube
  • Banana and Marmite
  • Banana and melted Snickers 
  • Pizza
  • Peanut butter and ketchup
  • Sushi 
  • Bovril and peanut butter
  • Caviar, sliced silver skin onions, rollmop herring, very thick gravy, black treacle, smoked haddock
  • Ice cream
  • Lobster and chutney
  • Peanut butter and beansprouts
  • Sardines and jam
  • Tinned spaghetti with cucumber and onion 

Recycle Your Electricals campaign aims to get UK households to stop throwing away or hoarding their small old electricals and instead start donating or recycling them. Electricals contain some of the most precious materials on our planet – gold, silver, copper aluminium, and platinum. And yet the nation is throwing away 155,000 tonnes of electricals each year, and hoarding 527 million items. Everything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled and turn into anything from children’s playgrounds to life-saving equipment. The Recycle Your Electricals Giant Toaster is designed to create a bold, bright and unmissable bring bank for donating and recycling electricals, to raise awareness of the 5,000 thousand drop off points around the UK for old, unwanted electricals. Simply put your postcode into the locator on the Recycle Your Electricals website to find your nearest locations for recycling or donations  

Speaking about the campaign, Michelle Ackerley said, “I recently moved house, and the vast amount of old phones, cables, batteries, chargers and devices I found shocked me. Even the most organised and sustainable minded of us tend to hang on to these things. So, I’m taking part in the Recycle Your Electricals ‘Love Your Old Toaster’ campaign because I’m determined to be part of the generation that does something proactive about the problem of unwanted household electricals. We can all learn more about the small things we can do to help the world become a better, more sustainable place. It’s time for individual action, because anything with a plug, cable or battery can be recycled. Don’t dump yours in the rubbish and let it go to waste, log on to the Recycle Your Electricals website and pop your postcode in the locator, it will show you where you can take your beloved old toasters to be recycled  – it’s that easy!”

Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa, artist added, “I’ve always been interested in recycling, and the small actions we can make to help the planet.  So when I was approached to design and paint the toaster to encourage people to recycle their small electricals, I was thrilled!  Colour and eye-catching designs can be a great way for people to take notice and be inspired to make changes.  My design is a visual representation of iconic electrical items we hoard in our homes mixed in with my colourful style.  The toaster is a fun way to engage people and raise awareness of a serious topic.” 

Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus, the not-for-profit organisation behind Recycle Your Electricals campaign, said “One of my favourite snacks is a slice of toast with butter and marmite!   Toasters are one of the nation’s favourite electrical items, and yet we aren’t showing them enough love.  Toasters also contain an amazing array of metals including nickel, chromium and iron.  With 11 million toasters being thrown away each year, it’s time we all loved our toasters a bit more and instead recycled them or donated them and our other old unwanted electricals ”. 

​​Westfield have supported the campaign by providing space for the pop up at the Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City centres. Alyson Hodkinson, General Manager of Westfield Stratford City and Head of CSR UK, said: “We are committed to continuously improving the environmental impact of our centres and supporting visitors that come through our doors. By hosting this stand-out recycling drop off point at Westfield ahead of International E-Waste Day, Material Focus will encourage our shoppers to reduce, re-use and recycle some of their unwanted electrical goods.”

Thanks also to SWEEEP and Veolia who have supported the campaign by collecting and recycling the electricals as part of this initiative.  


Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries please contact kate@materialfocus.org.uk mobile 07714 708416

Recycle Your Electricals 

Material Focus is a not for profit whose goal is to stop the nation throwing away or hoarding all their old small electricals.  Material Focus is delivering the UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign.  The campaign is making it easier for us all to recycle and reuse the small electricals we no longer need by funding more recycling points as well as providing practical information on how households can recycle.  

The campaign is funded by producers of electrical appliances. The funding pays for a range of activities including communications, behaviour change activities, increased recycling projects and research.  Ultimately the aim is to support actions that will help the UK increase the levels of reuse and recycling of waste electricals.  


Research was conducted by Opinium from 16th August to 19th August 2022. Research was carried out amongst a sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ and has been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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