black hair dryer and grooming products.

Hairdryer and Hair Straightener Recycling and Disposal

Hairdryers and straighteners provide a quick and convenient way to get ready in the morning, for a night out, or special event. With new models of hairdryers, straighteners, curling tongs, and other grooming devices constantly being released, you might be thinking about a fresh one. But what do you do with your old device?

Whether it’s broken or you just want to replace your old hairdryer or other device, there are responsible ways to dispose of it. Recycling hairdryers and straighteners is possible but must be done properly. Understand how to dispose of and recycle hairdryers, straighteners, and more grooming devices with this guide.

Hair straightener and dryer
recycling FAQs

  • Who invented hairdryers and straighteners?

    Stylist Alexander-Ferdinand Godfrey first invented the hairdryer. He patented a device in 1888 to connect to any kind of heater that sent hot air into a dome around a woman’s head to dry her hair. It wasn’t until 1911 that the first portable hair dryer was invented. The handheld hairdryers we’re used to today were invented around 1920.

    The first hair straightener was patented in 1909 by Isaac K. Shero. This primitive device had two flat irons that were heated and pushed together, before the development of ceramic and electrical hair straighteners years later.

  • What are hairdryers made from? And how are they made?

    Most hairdryers have a plastic body and include a motor-driven fan and a heating element. The heating element is typically a nickel and chrome alloy and can be a coiled wire up to 12cm long.

    When a hairdryer is made, the plastic body is split into two parts and made by injection moulding. Compartments to house the electrical elements are moulded on the inside of the plastic body. Manufacturing a hairdryer is a low-cost process that involves a combination of manual labour and automated processes.

  • What are hair straighteners made from? And how are they made?

    Hair straighteners are made using a range of materials. Solid ceramic or ceramic coated aluminium plates are common, while some premium brands use titanium plates. Coatings like rubber or silicon are also often used. Hair straighteners contain a metal heating element, normally made from copper.

    Like hairdryers, straighteners are manufactured in a factory. Heating elements are assembled behind both sides of the straighteners.

  • What type of waste are old hairdryers and straighteners?

    Hairdryers and straighteners are a type of WEEE waste (waste electronic and electrical equipment). Despite being made from plastic, metal, and other materials, they should be disposed of with other WEEE items. When sent for recycling, hairdryers and straighteners will be broken down into their component parts and recycled in separate waste streams.

  • How do you dispose of hairdryers and straighteners?

    You can’t recycle hairdryers and straighteners with your domestic recycling. However, you can normally take them to your local household waste recycling centre, as most accept broken or working grooming devices. Businesses can arrange collection of WEEE including hairdryers and straighteners, by licensed waste carriers.

    Some charities also accept devices like hairdryers and straighteners for recycling. If yours are still in good working order, they may donate them to other people in need or sell second hand within their charity shops. You could also consider selling them online or giving them to someone you know. Some people even convert hairdryers into unique lamps.

    Hairdryers and straighteners thrown away with general waste end up in landfill. If you take these items to a household waste recycling centre, the scrap metal the products contain can be retrieved and recycled. Recycled metal has a wide variety of purposes, including for building roads and tracks for the transport industry.

  • What are the problems with hairdryer and straighteners waste?

    Hairdryers and straighteners consume energy, generate carbon dioxide, and can’t be included with your usual household recycling. If they end up in landfill, then they can take hundreds of years to decompose. As the plastic is quite thick compared to other types of plastic waste, it can take even longer to break down.

    During this time, the chemicals from the plastic can leach into the soil and nearby water. This introduces toxic elements, which can harm wildlife, animals, and have an impact on the food chain – while also contributing to carbon monoxide and methane emitted from landfill. Recycling hairdryers and straighteners helps avoid such problems.

  • Are there alternatives to hairdryers and straighteners?

    The most obvious eco-friendly alternative to using a hairdryer is to let your hair dry naturally and embrace its natural texture. Alternatively, use heat-free options instead of hair straighteners like straightening hair serums, shampoos, or sprays formulated to relax your hair.

  • What are the costs associated with recycling and disposing of hairdryers and straighteners?

    Some local household recycling centres have charges for disposing of certain items. However, hairdryers and straighteners are not usually included in this, so you should be able to dispose of them for free. You’ll have to cover the cost of travelling to the recycling centre. If you can’t travel to the centre, you may need to pay to arrange a collection service.

    For businesses, you must arrange commercial waste collection to get rid of any WEEE waste – such as hairdryers and straighteners. The costs vary depending on the type and amount of waste you have and your location. Contact us for a free quote based on your requirements.

  • What are some facts about hairdryers and straighteners?

    A few facts about hairdryers and straighteners include that:

    • The average hairdryer uses up to 2000 watts in heat.
    • Hairdryers have a lifespan of around 300 hours.
    • Using a 1200-watt hairdryer for ten minutes every day generates 8kg of carbon dioxide in one year.
    • Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of up to 220°C and may take almost an hour to cool down.
    • Around 60% of women and 20% of men use hairdryers regularly.

Learn about more 
waste types

Find out more about other rubbish streams in our guides to waste types

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