“HypnoCat” unleashed to hypnotise the nation into recycling their old electricals


The Recycle Your Electricals campaign has unleashed “HypnoCat”, a pink fluffy cat on a mission to hypnotise the nation into recycling their small old electricals.  The campaign has been launched in response to the nation’s surge in clearing out during coronavirus lockdown.

  • Nearly 60% of UK householders carried out a lockdown spring clean, but a rising mountain of small old electricals get left in the dark
  • Small, old electricals are one of the fastest growing waste streams in the UK and in the world – 50 million tonnes of electrical waste thrown away annually across the globe, set to triple by 2050
  • The total number of cables hoarded in UK homes (140 million) could circle the earth more than 5 times 
  • More than 5.5 million homes (20%) have hoarded retro games consoles like Nintendos, Mega Drives and Game Boys and over 2.7 million homes claim to have electrical toys like Furbys and Tamagotchis 

HypnoCat will be issuing a series of rallying calls to local people including: ‘Humans of England. You will not bin your electricals’. He will also play on his cat’s superior powers over humans ‘Speaking of bags, go buy me a big bag of catnip’ in between the repeated mantra of Recycle Your Electricals.  The fun character has been designed to build on a growing trend and love for bizarre hypnocats.  HynoCat will also be launching in the following 4 other areas across the UK: Bristol, Bath, and North Somerset;  Tyneside and Newcastle; Edinburgh and Falkirk; and Norwich in Norfolk.  

Scott Butler, Material Focus,  Executive Director, said: “Small old electricals are one of the fastest growing waste streams, and we are throwing away valuable materials that are lost forever.   In reality, these small old, unwanted electricals contain 75% of materials that can be recycled or reused such as precious materials like gold, aluminium and steel.  Through HypnoCat unleased and our campaign we will be providing step-by-step information on how to reuse and recycle old electricals. We want everyone to know that all old electricals – that’s everything with a plug, battery or cable – can be recycled.  We are calling on the nation to stop throwing away their old electricals, and instead put them in a bag ready to be recycled when your nearest recycling centre reopens.”

The Recycle Your Electricals ‘Little Spring Clean’ comes as lockdown measures have given people the opportunity to reassess their attitudes towards clearing out.  Although we have become a nation of declutterers during lockdown only 20% are decluttering their old unused electricals during this time. Instead householders are focussed on sorting out clothing (65%), books and magazines (47%) and home accessories (34%). And why? We’re a sentimental, practical bunch; over a quarter listed sentimental value or nostalgia whilst almost a third keep them in case they want to use them again. 

Other domestic hoarding habits revealed that: 

  • Over a half of a million households have got 5-10 games consoles in their homes against a UK average of less than one per home 
  • Despite many charging cables becoming obsolete over time, 1.1million of us have been hoarding them for over ten years before getting rid of them, creating a tangled mountain of 5.58 million decades old cables 
  • Ever sat on the remote control? You’re not the only one; over 3 million homes are sitting on 5-15 of them, compared to a UK average of two per house 
  • One of the items we are holding onto longest are old unused speakers, with almost 2 million households keeping them for over a decade 
  • 5.8 million households (21%) are holding onto VHS players 
  • Similarly, cassette players are still being held on to in 4.7 million (17%) of homes 

The Recycle Your Electricals Campaign is making recycling small old electricals easier than ever before by launching an information hub for the UK.  A new postcode finder has launched on www.materialfocus.org.uk with details of over 2,000 recycling, repair and reuse points across the UK with new collection and drop-off points will be added to the site on an ongoing basis.  

Share pictures, videos and stories of the electricals that you’ve collected in a bag prior to placing them at the kerbside #RecycleYourElectricals #RethinkWhatsPossible #AskHypnocat or tag us on Facebook @RecycleYourElectricals Twitter @RecycleElectric & Instagram @RecycleYourElectricals_


For further press information please contact Kate Hinton – kate@materialfocus.org.uk

Notes to Editors

About Material Focus and the Recycle Your Electricals campaign 

Material Focus (formerly the WEEE Fund), is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to stop the nation throwing away or hoarding all their old small electricals. Material Focus has launched the new UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign. The campaign will reveal the value hidden in electricals and will make it easier for us all to recycle and reuse the small electricals we no longer need by providing more recycling points as well as providing practical information on how households can recycle.

The campaign is funded by producers of electrical appliances. The UK government sets annual targets for the recycling of all waste electricals, including small electricals. If producers of electrical appliances don’t meet this target, then they contribute towards a fund (WEEE Fund).  During 2017 and 2018 £10.6 million was collected for the fund, which 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.

* Whilst the UK is in lockdown due to Covid-19, Recycle Your Electricals advises checking the opening times for local recycling facilities and follow government social distancing advice.


YouGov Plc. Research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Recycle Your Electricals. Total sample size was 2,176 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th – 25th February 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Opinium. Research conducted by Opinium and commissioned by Recycle Your Electricals. Total sample size was 2003 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7thand 11thof May 2020.

How to get involved:

Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled.

Once you have decided that you want to recycle an old electrical, follow the ABC rule:

Ask yourself whether your old electrical item contains batteries or bulbs? They need to be removed before recycling. With computers or smart devices remove the memory and SIM cards and delete your data.

Bag It Find a bag that you can use to store all your old electricals until after lockdown or until collection day if you have one.

Check our easy recycling locator to find your nearest repair, reuse or recycling point. Some councils will also collect directly from your home. Otherwise keep your electricals in your bag until after lockdown.


[1] 50 million tonnes of electrical waste thrown away annually across the globe, set to triple by 2050Figures from the United Nations University report – https://www.verdict.co.uk/50-million-tonnes-of-ewaste-could-triple-by-2050/

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