Hairdryers and straighteners waste, disposal and recycling

What type of waste is this product?

Hairdryers and straighteners are considered to be recyclable electrical waste.

Hairdryers and straighteners waste, disposal and recycling

Who invented Hairdryers and straighteners

The hairdryer was first invented by stylist Alexander Godfrey in the 1890s as a fixed device in a salon, but the first portable hair dryer was invented in 1911. The handheld hairdryers we’re used to today were invented around 1920. Hair straighteners were invented in 1872 by French hairstylist Marcel Grateau in his salon.

What are they 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 12 cm 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.

Hair straighteners are made using a range of materials. Solid ceramic or ceramic coated aluminium plates are common. Some premium brands may use titanium plates. Coatings like rubber or silicon are also common. Hair straighteners contain a metal heating element, with copper being one of the most commonly used materials. Like hairdryers, straighteners are manufactured in a factory. Heating elements are assembled behind both sides of the straighteners.

Hair dryers and straighteners disposal

Hairdryers and straighteners can’t be recycled at the kerbside. However, you can take them to your local household waste recycling centre where you might need to make an appointment. Local centres usually accept these items whether they’re working or not. Some charities also accept devices like hairdryers and straighteners for recycling or to donate to others.


Hairdryers and straighteners that are left in the bin end up in landfill. If you take these items to a household waste recycling centre, the scrap metals that the products contain can be retrieved and recycled. Recycled metal has a wide variety of different 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. One eco-friendly alternative is to let your hair dry naturally and embrace its natural texture. Alternatively, use heat-free alternatives to hair straighteners like straightening hair serums, shampoos, or sprays that are formulated to relax your hair.

If you do have hairdryers or straighteners to dispose of, consider donating them to a charity that collects these items, either broken or in usable condition. If your straighteners or hairdryer still work you could also consider selling them online or giving them to someone you know. Some people are even converting hairdryers into unique lamps.

What are the costs associated with recycling and disposing of them?

Some local household recycling centres have charges for disposing of certain items. However, hairdryers and straighteners are usually not included in this. You will have to cover the cost of travelling to the recycling centre with your items. If you cannot travel to the centre you may need to pay to arrange a collection service.

Facts about hairdryers and straighteners

• 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 26.8kg of carbon dioxide in one year

• Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of up to 220 degrees and may take almost an hour to cool down

Where can you take these items to recycle/dispose of them for free?

• Local household waste recycling centres

Learn more about everyday items and how to dispose of them.

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