What items are we talking about?
Although standards are constantly improving with the production of environmentally conscious appliances, it won't take long to pick out some common household electrical items that will contain substances hazardous to water and soil if dumped inappropriately.
Take a virtual walk around this house to find a few: NHHWF Website
In your living room:
Older model TVs (especially analogue ones) often contain lead and cadmium - two elements that can be hazardous to health if they leak into soil and water. Some of the chemically toxic substances that need to be taken out safely (not at home) before they are recycled include cathode ray tubes from (CRT) TV monitors and mercury lamps in LCD screens, as well as PVC, flame retardants, and other toxic additives in the plastic components.
In your kitchen:
While most fridges and freezers manufactured after 1995 contain more ozone friendly refrigerants, they still need to be handled carefully. Older models contain harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which must be removed before the various metals and plastics are recycled while many air-conditioning units or dehumidifiers contain HCFC refrigerants housed in the circulating coolant system of a fridge. In addition they may have been used as a blowing agent for the polyurethane foam used to insulate your appliance.
In your other rooms:
Mercury can sometimes be found in appliances with automatic or tilt shut-off, like clothes irons and curling irons with auto shut-off.
Batteries for some watches, computer equipment such as rechargeable, lithium, Ni-cad and lead-acid batteries from laptops, mobile phones, and some cameras are hazardous and need to be disposed of or recycled properly.
From February 2010, shops that sell large amounts of household batteries in the UK must provide a collection bin for used ones and some local councils accept them as well. Batteries older than 10 years may contain mercury, zinc, nickel cadmium, lithium and lead are even more hazardous. Be sure to take these to a recycling facility along with your energy saving light bulbs.
Turn it in:
PC World and Currys offer a recycling service for your old electronic items free of charge. You can either take the item to your local store, or if you're replacing a large domestic appliance, like a washing machine or refrigerator, you can arrange for it to be collected at the same time as delivery. For more information click on the link below: Currys Recycling
More and more companies are doing this since July 2007 when the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations were introduced in the UK to reduce the amount of untreated waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) going to landfill. These standards ensure that equipment collected separately is dealt with properly at facilities which strip out the hazardous bits and recycle the usable metals and glass.
For security reasons it is advisable to erase all data from a computer or laptop before you dispose of it. You can buy data-wiping software to so this or alternatively KNOWHOW provide a service to securely remove data, See link below for details: