Every time you switch broadband provider, you’ll be sent a new router to use for your Wi-Fi. So if you’ve been in your house or flat for a long time, you may have quite the collection of old routers stuffed in a drawer somewhere.
If you’re conscious of your carbon footprint and want to keep your household waste down, recycling your router is the best way to get rid of it. Depending on the ages of your broadband equipment, some providers will ask you to return it to them for repurposing or recycling, and others will give you details of where and how to recycle your router yourself.
Here’s how to recycle your broadband router once you’re done with it.
How to recycle your Sky Broadband router and Sky Q TV box
Of all the major providers, Sky often provides you with the most equipment, since Sky Q TV is one of its most popular products. If you received a Sky Q set-top box when you took out your Sky contract, chances are the company will ask you to return it to them if you choose to switch provider.
Any Sky Q or Sky Broadband equipment received after 4 March 2020 is technically on loan to you from Sky, so will need to be returned once your service is ended. If you don’t return your Sky equipment, you’ll be charged a non-return fee for each item you don’t return.
In a large household with multiple Sky set-top boxes, routers and Wi-Fi extenders, this can quickly add up:
- Sky Q 1TB box - £115
- Sky Q 2TB box - £135
- Sky Q Mini box - £50
- Sky Q Hub/Sky Broadband Hub - £50
- Sky Broadband Booster - £35
Depending on your contract, you will have a specific amount of time to return your equipment — typically 60 days — before you are charged.
Return your Sky router by post
- First, contact Sky directly to confirm you need to return the equipment.
- Box everything up, including cables, remotes and documentation. If you have the original packaging, all the better.
- Visit Sky’s Royal Mail returns page and enter the details of the package. You’ll then have to fill in your details and you’ll receive an email with a return label attached.
- Print and attach the label to the package and drop it off at your local Post Office. You can also choose to print the returns label at the post office if you don’t have access to a printer.
Recycling your Sky equipment
If you’re not required to return your Sky router or set-top box, you can still return old equipment to Sky to dispose of safely and sustainably.
If you have equipment marked with the following symbol, then it’s not safe to dispose of it with your general household waste.
In this case, it’s easiest and safest to simply return it to Sky anyway so that they can reuse parts or recycle whatever they can’t reuse.
Ready to leave Sky? Check out our latest broadband deals to compare faster, cheaper deals.
How to return and recycle your BT equipment
Like Sky, BT has the policy that all of your broadband and TV equipment is technically on loan from BT. As such, if you’ve taken out a BT contract on or after 13 December 2019, you’ll need to return it to them when you switch provider.
And like Sky, if you don’t return your broadband equipment within 60 days, you’ll incur charges for each item of equipment you keep hold of:
- Home Hub, Smart Hub - £43
- Smart Hub 2 - £50
- BT TV Box (Z4) - £60
- BT TV Recordable Box (G4) - £89
- BT TV 4K Recordable Box (G5) - £115
- BT TV Box Pro - £115
- Hybrid Connect - £63
- Complete Wi-Fi discs - £30 per disc
If you return your equipment after this time, you will receive either an account credit or a refund cheque to your last registered address.
BT reportedly received over one million pieces of returned equipment in 2020 and were able to recycle roughly half of that for new broadband customers. By recycling rather than manufacturing new routers and equipment, BT estimates that it was able to prevent 170 tonnes of electrical waste.
Returning your router to BT by post
You should receive a white returns bag from BT when you switch or cancel your service, but you can also request one by logging into your My BT account, selecting ‘View details’ and navigating to ‘Please return your equipment’.
You simply need to attach your returns label and drop off your parcel at your nearest Post Office. You can also arrange to have it collected from your home by arranging an at-home collection for an additional fee of 60p.
Be sure to keep proof of postage in both cases just in case there are any delays or problems with delivery.
Note: Do not take equipment into BT stores, as they won’t be able to accept returned equipment.
Ready to leave BT? Check out our latest broadband deals to compare faster, cheaper deals.
How to recycle your Virgin Media router
Virgin Media will also reuse or recycle its equipment, and will always request that its newer pieces of kit are returned directly to them. These include:
- Super Hub 2AC
- Virgin TV V6 box
- Hub 3 and 4
- WiFi Boosters and WiFi Pods
If you leave Virgin Media and switch to a new broadband provider, you’ll be sent a pre-paid a returns envelope that you can use to return your equipment.
Drop your completed returns bag at a Collect Plus store to return everything back to Virgin Media for free.
If you’re a Virgin Media customer with any other equipment, Virgin Media simply asks that you recycle it responsibly as it currently cannot be reused. If you visit the Virgin Media 'Recycling my kit’ page, you’ll be able to type in your postcode to find the nearest appropriate recycling centre.
Ready to leave Virgin Media? Check out our latest broadband deals to compare faster, cheaper deals.
How to recycle your Plusnet broadband router
You can return your Plusnet router via this Royal Mail link. Plusnet will then reuse whatever working parts it can and dispose of the rest in an environmentally friendly way.
Plusnet is also part of the WEEE scheme (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), and as such is obligated to dispose of products and equipment in “the best, earth-friendly way.”
For this you’ll need to cover the postage yourself and send your old Plusnet router to the following address:
WEEE Take Back Scheme Plusnet Returns BT DF Darlington Road Northallerton DL6 7ZY
Ready to leave Plusnet? Check out our latest broadband deals to compare faster, cheaper deals.
How to recycle your TalkTalk router
TalkTalk also asks you to return your broadband router and TV box when you leave, upgrade or replace your equipment. You’ll receive a pre-paid postage bag so you can return your router to TalkTalk free of charge. TalkTalk will then reuse whatever equipment it can and recycle the rest.
In fact, TalkTalk also states that you can send it any other equipment that wasn’t originally supplied by them and it’ll recycle that for you for free as well.
If you don't receive a postage bag or have another broadband router or other equipment you’d like it to recycle, contact TalkTalk directly to request a returns bag.
Note: If you don't return your TalkTalk equipment within 42 days of receiving your postage bag, you could be charged £50.00 for the equipment you’ve kept.
Ready to leave TalkTalk? Check out our latest broadband deals to compare faster, cheaper deals.