Currys launches new ‘long live your tech’ customer commitment

Currys, the UK’s largest omnichannel technology retailer, has announced a new ‘Long Live Your Tech’ commitment aimed at tackling e-waste.

The new commitment sets out to educate, support and help consumers to make ‘more informed choices’ when buying and disposing of tech.

According to Currys, the UK is facing an e-waste ‘perfect storm’ as reliance on tech grows and the nation’s e-waste problem booms. Unwanted electrical and tech waste is now the fastest growing waste stream both in the UK and across the globe.

One of the world’s largest producers of tech waste, the UK generates up to 23.9kg per head and throws 155,000 tonnes of electrical waste in household bins every year, according to the Environmental Audit Committee.

Yet the spend per capita on tech continues to grow, according to GFK Retail Panel research, and the role it plays in consumers’ lives is increasing with demand for 40% of new tech purchases being driven by a desire to upgrade, according to Consumer Needs and Frustrations research.

Often regarded as having a limited life, tech products are often discarded and replaced within a few years of purchase, creating e-waste that could go on to have a longer life, Curry’s says.

‘Long Live Your Tech’

Raising awareness of the issue, Currys’ new ‘Long Live Your Tech’ commitment will set out to encourage in-market consumers to not only consider the sustainability credentials of any new or upgraded purchases but to also contemplate how they dispose of old electronics.

Currys collects, on average, 5,500 tonnes of unwanted tech every month and is hoping to surpass that in the coming weeks as its ‘Long Live Your Tech’ commitment launches with a ‘Cash for Trash’ initiative, running from 16 March to 15 April 2022. A tech industry first, this event calls on UK consumers to take any unwanted electronics to their nearest Currys store in exchange for a monetary voucher.

Additional activity includes a series of offers, money-back schemes and discounts, including a £100-off turbo charged TV trade-in deal, with further ‘Long Live Your Tech’ initiatives to be introduced in the coming months.

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

The retailer is also the headline sponsor of Waste Week 2022, working with organisers Wastebusters to call on the 17,800 schools in its Pod school network, to take part in a “Hidden Treasure Hunt” competition, which aims to be the UK’s largest collection of e-Waste.

The move to coalesce its consumer-facing sustainability practices under one easy to understand platform comes after YouGov research commissioned by Currys found that UK consumers struggle when it comes to the disposal of tech. One in five (21%) are unaware of how to dispose of e-waste responsibly and almost a quarter (23%) find recycling unused electronics confusing or inconvenient.

Further research shows 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. Only 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.

Circular business models

Lindsey Haselhurst, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Currys comments: “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.”

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