Are electrical cords e-waste?

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Electrical cords, crucial for powering our devices, can become e-waste at the end of their lifespan. However, their recyclability depends on the materials used. Most cords contain recyclable copper or aluminium wires surrounded by plastic or rubber insulation. While the insulation may not be recyclable, the metal within is highly recyclable.

E-waste recycling facilities are the ideal destination for disposing of old electrical cords, where they can extract valuable metals and adequately dispose of the insulation. Repurposing or repairing cords before recycling is encouraged to extend their lifespan and minimise waste. Local councils or waste management agencies often organise e-waste recycling events or have dedicated facilities for disposal.

By responsibly recycling electrical cords, we reduce e-waste and protect the environment.

How do I get rid of Electrical Cords?

Electrical cords and cables play a crucial role in our modern lives, powering our devices and appliances with electricity. But what happens when these cords reach the end of their lifespan? Are they considered e-waste? In this blog post, we’ll explore the recyclability of electrical cords and offer tips on how to dispose of them responsibly.

Understanding Electrical Cords

The wires inside most power cables are typically made of copper or aluminium, both of which are highly recyclable metals. Surrounding these wires is an insulating layer made of plastic or rubber. While the insulator may not always be recyclable, the metal within the cord is. Recycling facilities can strip off and recycle the wire, making it an environmentally friendly option for disposal.

E-Waste Recycling Facilities

E-waste facilities are the ideal destination for recycling old electrical cords. Many municipalities now have specialised e-waste recycling facilities, either privately managed or run by local government agencies. These facilities accept various electronic devices, including cords and cables, for recycling. If your city or county doesn’t have a dedicated e-waste recycler, they may organise recycling events where residents can bring their e-waste for proper disposal. Contact your local council or waste management agency to learn about upcoming events in your area.

Many councils now have e-waste recycling facilities, either privately managed or run by local government agencies

Repurposing and Repairing Electrical Cords

While there aren’t many options for repurposing extension cables beyond their intended use, it’s essential to consider repair options before recycling. If you have a cable that becomes hot or doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it’s best to recycle it rather than pass it on to someone else. If you’ve accidentally cut a cord while using power equipment connected to an extension cable, there is hope for repair. While splicing a severed extension cable back together isn’t recommended due to potential safety hazards, you may be able to salvage both ends of the cord to create two separate extension cords.


In conclusion, electrical cords are considered e-waste but can be recycled responsibly. Recycling facilities can extract the valuable metals from the cords while properly disposing of the insulating materials. Remember to check with your local recycling centre or waste management agency for e-waste recycling options in your area. If you have damaged cords, consider repair options before recycling to extend their lifespan and minimise waste. By taking these simple steps, we can all contribute to reducing e-waste and protecting the environment.

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