Recycling and the environment. What are we doing to help?

Comments by Trevor Matthews. Rushden Electronics. April 2021.

Since the early 1980's I have been repairing electrical and electronic consumer items. It became a business in 1991.

Literally 10's of thousands of items have been saved from landfill over all those years by carefully repairing as much as possible from the items that came in.

The current trend of repair cafes seems to have caught many peoples attention but repairing and thus recycling is hardly new as they seem to suggest.

I have been doing it for over 30 years. I run a forum dedicated to repairs for electronics engineers specialising in consumer electronics repairs, members from around the world participate, sharing repair information to enable as many items as possible to be repaired.

Each item saved means one less new item has to be made and sold, or at least that process is delayed by a year or more, sometimes for many years. Further repairs can also be carried out in the future on most items.

So what about GHD irons? What can you the customer and we the repairer do?

GHD offer a two year warranty on their hair straighteners. If yours fail under warranty you return them to the shop or GHD and a new replacement pair will be given to you.

Sadly we have no idea what happens to the faulty irons sent back to GHD. To the best of our knowledge they do not repair their products and certainly do not supply spares to allow their products to be repaired.

Searching the GHD web site for "recycling" produced no results.

You may be aware of the Right To Repair legislation soon to become law (Summer 2021). Will that help? Not for your GHD irons I am sorry to say. Small electrical items are not covered by the legislation.

The possible exception is the GHD hair dryer range where an electric motor is used. But we will have to wait and see if that is ever made available as a spare part.

Here is the list of items covered by the legislation.

Over the past 11 years we have built up an extensive range of spares and repair knowledge gleaned from 16,000 or so repairs.

We have had spares specifically designed and made for us to allow customers to repair their irons or let us repair them.

Examples would be the type 1 and type 3 mains cables, type 3 sockets, 70 and 160 ohm elements.

We are constantly improving our repair techniques to minimise waste and improve repair longevity.

We have developed repair techniques and shared them with other repairers. We collaborate with other GHD repairers.

Continual investment is required to stay up to date and enable us to repair the very latest models from GHD like the GHD Gold S7N261 and the Max S7N421.

An example would be the recent purchase of specialist oxy/acetylene micro torch equipment to allow us to replace broken element wires on the full range of old and new GHD's by brazing new wires on to the elements.

This saves the element from landfill, ceramics are notoriously difficult to process in the waste industry.

All you need to do is consider having your irons repaired, either as a DIY repair or by using the repair services of a company like ours, we hope you use us obviously!

A breakdown of the parts inside a pair of GHD irons and what happens to them.

Plastic arms. In good condition we use them for repairs and sales. If they are old and faded they are sent to a company who refurbishes them, they will eventually be used to make a refurbished pair of irons up to be sold.

Damaged mains cables are taken a few times a year to our local scrap yard for recycling. The same applies to any damaged wires or metal parts that we can't reuse, like a damaged plug.

PCB's. A repair is attempted on every faulty PCB, working to component level means we have a very high success rate. PCB's are then used for repairs and sales. Unrepairable PCB's are kept for the good components on them.

Elements. Broken wires can be replaced with the equipment we have. Broken elements can rarely be recycled and will usually end up in landfill.

Screws, hinge pins, hinge springs. We keep all small parts for future repairs and sales.

Ceramic plates in good condition are kept for repair and sales. Scratched and therefore unusable ceramic plates are used as packing materials to send fragile elements to customers around the world.

We will purchase GHD's when possible, subject to our current stock holding. If we are not currently purchasing GHD's we are still happy for anyone to post broken GHD's to us if they are on the list of acceptable models, we will recycle as much as possible on your behalf. Please check our web site for the latest situation.

We will continue to do everything possible to save your GHD's from landfill by repairing and recycling.


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