We all have that drawer. That box under the bed or buried in the shed collecting the hidden horrors of our technological pasts.

Black, white, red and green cables all lying dormant as they might, just might, come in handy one day.

First they are there for days, then months, and before you know it, years.

Phone chargers from the noughties, scart plugs, extension leads, once used and now unusable.

The unlikely duo of Darius Laws, leader of the Tory group on Colchester Council, and Anthony Roberts, Colchester Arts Centre director, came together with a plan to free cable hoarders of their shackles.

Darius says he has “hundreds of ideas a day” some of which he shares with Anthony. The one to declare a cable amnesty hit the spot.

The cable amnesty and exchange was held at the Famers Market in Colchester Arts Centre and was a day for unwanted wires, cords and plugs to meet their maker.

The day was a hit, hundreds of wires were surrendered.

Darius said: “All of the cables are being recycled appropriately by the Colchester Council environmental team at Shrub End.

“The world is too full of useless plastic.

“This is a small drop in the ocean of a battle to win over hearts and minds. Hopefully it will prevent the real splash of plastic in the real oceans of the world.”

Anthony added: “The idea was dreamt up by Darius and myself due to a conversation about an old box of cables we have in our garage.

“We were saying how we were never going to get round to using them but we kept them because of the voice in our head that said ‘Oh, that will come in handy one day’.

“On the back of the voice a vast hairball of useless cables have grown and grown in these boxes and quickly you realise everybody has a box of cables.

“We wanted to respond to the idea of too much plastic by recycling and helping to promote the Colchester Farmers Market.

“On the wave of the momentum around plastic waste David Attenborough has been talking about, we live in a wasteful society. Things break, they are thrown away and not repaired.”

Many of the cables are still in working order and some were even brand new, including some of the day's “sexiest” cables, including an electric blue scart lead and a brand new yellow USB wire.

Some of the most interesting cables were sorted into judging categories, including the oldest, the most useless, the rarest, the most diverse, tangled balls and WTF - for the cables judges, Anthony and Darius simply did not understand.

Of course, the recycling of cables doesn’t just stop at the disposal of plastic. The metal within the wires is also recyclable.

Many of the cables brought into the amnesty had copper wiring, which is of a far greater value than the generic household appliance cables.

Darius spent much of his sorting time, organising the different metals. Household cable wire can be worth between £900 and £1,400 per tonne, where as a copper wire removed from its plastic cable can be worth between £3,000 and £4,500 per tonne.

Anthony added: “We were overwhelmed with the boxes and boxes of useless cables.”

Adam Rose, who regularly attends the farmers’ market, went along to rid himself of his unwanted cables, and even managed to leave with a few new ones.

He said: “I brought a couple, but I took more away.

“It’s a shame I hadn’t thought of the idea myself.”

The Arts Centre are involved in a number of initiatives to help save the planet, and cable amnesty and exchange is just one.