Currys is marking Global Recycling Day by launching a UK nationwide recycling scheme that will reward customers for their e-waste with vouchers.
The move is part of its new Long Live Your Tech commitment to help reduce e-waste both by encouraging shoppers to consider how sustainable their purchases are in the first place, and then to consider how they dispose of old electronics. Currys says it is already the number one retail recycler of e-waste, having offered a repair service to customers for the last 40 years. Today the operation checks and repairs a million products a year. In 2020, it collected 62,000 products from customs and sold 253,000 used and refurbished items, while products were £9m were donated for reuse.
Lindsey Haselhurst, chief supply chain officer at Currys, says: “At Currys we recognise the pressing need to improve our use of resources and create circular business models, which is why we are a leader in extending the life of technology through our repair, recycling and reuse programmes.
“The UK is heading into an e-waste perfect storm with tech playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, yet consumers are struggling to understand how to dispose of it responsibly. And while there is a lot of noise when it comes to our plastic usage, our consumption of fast fashion and our approach to food waste; tech, despite being so integral to how we live – keeping us fed, entertained and connected – is often forgotten about.
“As the UK’s largest tech retailer, helping our customers enjoy their technology means, as well as assisting them in choosing shiny new amazing tech, we must support them in giving a longer life to the tech they already have. By bringing together and extending our sustainability programmes under our ‘Long Live Your Tech’ commitment, Currys is making the recycling, repairing and rehoming unwanted tech so much easier for those customers who want to do the right thing when it comes to e-waste but don’t know where to start.”
The move to bring its sustainability practices into one commitment comes after YouGov research commissioned by Currys found that UK consumers struggle when it comes to the disposal of tech. The survey questioned 2,091 UK adults and found one in five (21%) were unaware of how to dispose of e-waste responsibly and almost a quarter (23%) find recycling unused electronics confusing or inconvenient.
Further research found that UK homes are currently stockpiling an estimated 527 million unwanted electrical items, which if recycled would cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3m cars off the road. A survey, via YouGov and Material Focus, questioned 2,112 UK adults and found that a third of UK adults recycled their unwanted electricals over the last year an even smaller percentage of the population – just 2% – either mended their electricals or took them to be fixed.
Currys is a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research.