The last seven days marked the busiest shopping days of the year in the UK, with Black Friday on 25 November and Cyber Monday following immediately after the weekend. With promotional offers encouraging us to trade in our old electronic goods for the latest bigger, shinier version, we are urging eager consumers to go green this year.
Black Friday originated in the US and is said to have marked the start of the Christmas shopping season there since 1932. Held the day following Thanksgiving, many retailers open early in the morning and offer major discounts on technology and electrical products, encouraging shoppers to buy in time for Christmas.
UK retailers have inherited Black Friday in more recent years, but with many opting to modify the concept and offer promotions over a week or ten-day period rather than just one day. Cyber Monday follows Black Friday and has been identified as the busiest day of the year for online shopping.
Protect the environment as you shop
WRAP estimates that the UK buys 1.4 million tonnes (or £21 billion worth) of electrical and electronic products each year, and that we discard a similar amount, making it the fastest growing type of waste in Europe. Worryingly, we currently send around a third of this to landfill.
There are several options available to consumers to ensure your old and unwanted items do not go to waste, even if they no longer work. By recycling or reusing your broken and/or unwanted items you can help conserve important raw materials, protect natural habitats and reduce pressure on our landfill. Be sure to protect the environment as you shop and consider one of the following:
Ask about the retailer’s take back arrangements: Under the UK WEEE Regulations, distributors that directly supply new electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) for use by private households must facilitate a free take back service for items returned by consumers. This can be done in-store, or with a collection, and some retailers also offer trade-in schemes where you can hand over your old tablets and mobiles in return for credit off future purchases.
Find a site to recycle: Disposal sites are located across the country that will take your unwanted items and recycle them. Our Recycle with Clarity initiative has a national network of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) disposal sites throughout the UK, offering free and convenient recycling solutions for mobile phones, washing machines, fridges, televisions and much more. Anything broken or unusable is sent to a recycling plant that converts the waste back to raw materials for reuse and separates hazardous substances for safe recycling.
Donate to a worthy cause: If your unwanted electrical items are still in working order, why not donate to a charity or a furniture reuse organisation and help to raise money in the process. Charities like the British Heart Foundation accept small and large electrical items. We work with charities that refurbish and re-use items that are in good working condition.
Pass them on: One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, and your unwanted electrical items could be just the thing that someone else is looking for. Ask family and friends, pass on for free, or sell online on sites like Gumtree, Freecycle or on Facebook.
WRAP released a SMART guide for shopping for electrical goods that it says will help consumers to keep calm, buy smarter, and keep the environment in mind. WRAP's advice is to make a shortlist, make a decision before you go, Act calm and stick to your decision, register your appliance, and trade-in your old items.
Recycle with Clarity
Clarity Environmental runs an initiative to increase recycling rates of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or illegally exported. Our national network of disposal sites offers free alternative recycling solutions to civic amenity sites. If you are a site manager for an AATF and are interested in joining our Recycle with Clarity network, contact Vikkie Fitzgerald on 01273 929212 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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