Currys PC World, the UK’s largest technology recycler, is asking Brits to think before they bin with a scheme that makes it easy to recycle electrical goods
New research from the nation’s leading electricals retailer highlights the UK’s e-waste issue and growing customer confusion around what to do with old and broken tech items. It reveals that over half of Brits (54%) are considering a clear out this bank holiday, yet 68% don’t know what, where and how to recycle their tech items. Which could explain why the UK is one of the worst e-waste offenders in Europe.
Currently the UK has a yearly 1.45 million tonnes1 e-waste problem, which is compounded by 4.2 million UK households unnecessarily dumping electrical items in their household bin, sending them to landfill rather than recycling, rehoming or repairing them.
A statistic that is only set to increase2 as many households currently hoard tech items that they don’t know how to dispose of, with mobile phones and headphones being among the worst offenders.
Broken small tech items most likely to be lying around in UK homes
Currys PC World is helping and encouraging Brits to join the repair, recycle and re-love revolution by ‘saving it, not slinging it’ and asking the nation to make use of the retailer’s 313 existing instore recycling collection points. Currys PC World offers convenient and easy ways to get your old tech removed or recycled, whether it’s by a Currys PC World colleague removing an old item in a home and replacing it with a new one or assisting customers instore with any small tech drop off for free, Currys PC World can help.
Many of these small tech items can be recycled at household waste recycling centres or through council curb side pickup, however Currys PC World will take back all of these small tech items and either repair, recycle or rehome every single one, even if they weren’t purchased from one of their stores.
Since 2007, Currys PC World has been recycling, repairing, and rehoming tech and goes above the minimum legislative requirement for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and is the only major retailer to offer a take-back service in stores, even if the customer hasn’t purchased from Currys PC World directly.
The company’s newly released research also has found that almost a third of Brits (32%) are slinging unwanted yet working small appliances in the bin, rather than recycling them, leaving many to go to waste. In 2020, 43% of all e-waste collected by UK retailers was collected by Currys PC World, and the retailer has recycled over 800,000 tonnes of tech since 2007.
Yet the nation isn’t doing this through lack of care, but a lack of knowledge. Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits keep unwanted and working small appliances/tech items because they don’t know where to dispose of them.
The city hoarding the most items due to a lack of awareness is London, as 32% of those in the capital struggle with where and how to get rid of their tech, with 313 Currys PC World stores around the country, and 33 in London, they offer a convenient and stress-free recycling option compared to some household waste recycling centres. The stores are open seven days a week, for longer hours, require no need to book and there is no limit on how many of visits.
Matt Manning, Group Carbon and Environment Manager said: “Our research shows that the nation is a little confused about how to recycle their unwanted tech. The UK being one of the top e-waste offenders in Europe and as the UK’s largest retail tech recycler, Currys PC World is on a mission to help the nation’s households do the right thing. Research has shown that there are 527 million hoarded items in homes across the UK, and with the bank holiday often being a time when the nation ‘sorts’ and ‘tidies’, we are keen to help people understand the best, and most sustainable ways to rid themselves of unwanted small tech items.
“We offer our customers a number of recycling options, from in-store drop offs, to home pick-ups when larger items are delivered. From toasters to TVs and everything in between, we facilitate the recycling of all tech and want to make it as easy as possible for customers to continue doing so.
“For us, it is also important that we repair, reuse and rehome as much of the unwanted tech as possible, saving items that could otherwise go to landfill or sit idly at the back of a drawer by giving them a better purpose.”
Craig Anderson, Reuse Network CEO said: “Working with Currys PC World to collect large domestic appliances, TVs and refrigeration to be repaired and reused allows our members to have a steady source of goods. These are repaired and checked before they are either sold in store at an affordable price or distributed for referrals from local authorities or social housing.
“We are delighted to see Currys PC World calling for a repair revolution and encouraging people living in the UK to think about what they can do with their unwanted items”.
This August bank holiday, Currys PC World is encouraging consumers to head into their local store to drop off unwanted small tech, promising that every item will be assessed as part of its recycle, repair and rehome process.
The Currys PC World data also found that over two thirds (67%) of the UK would be more willing to recycle their tech if they knew it was going to a good cause. Some of the tech that is given to Currys PC World as part of its take back service goes on to enjoy a second life with families in need, as part of the retailers ongoing relationship with Reuse Network, which has been in place since 2014.
Through the Reuse Network, Currys PC World supplies around 14,265 white goods items to charities and social housing every year. This is just one example of how technology that is saved rather than slung can be put to good use. The Reuse Network works across the electricals sectors to make this vision a reality, working with members to give the support, information, connections and goods they need to reach vulnerable people in need in their local communities.
In the last two years, Currys PC World has delivered the following through the Reuse Network.
· Helped 117,183 households thanks to re-used items from Dixons Carphone / Curry PC World Takeback Scheme
· Saving these households an estimate of £3,221,850
· Amounting to around 1,796.5 tonnes of household white goods
Currys PC World is urging the nation to educate themselves further on what can be reused, rehomed or recycled. Find your nearest store to recycle here.