As retailers and shoppers gear up for another “highly charged” Black Friday, UK anti-waste advocacy organization WRAP has provided a ‘SMART’ guide for buying electronic products.
Each year the UK buys 1.4 million tonnes (or £21 billion worth) of electrical and electronic products; WRAP estimates that consumers discard a similar amount. The SMART guidelines are designed to help consumers keep calm, buy smarter, and avoid unnecessary waste of devices and their components.
“We’re working closely with leading electrical manufacturers and retailers to transform the industry and generate value through sustainability,” said Sarah Clayton, Head of Products and Services at WRAP. “But there’s a lot you can do as a consumer, too, to ensure you are switched on to value and getting the most out of your electrical items, which includes buying only those you will use.”
With so many models of electronics released at a rapid rate each year, WRAP continues its focus on e-waste recycling; SMART builds on its ‘Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling for England’ with a goal to avoid around 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
For WRAP, being SMART consists of:
- Shortlist — Spend time researching where to be (in store or online) and when to get the desired deal.
- Make a decision — Before going shopping, customers are urged to think about the lifetime of the selected product and its true monetary value. Some products are designed to last longer and be repaired, upgraded or recycled more easily.
- Act — Stick to a researched bargain plan. With some retailers extending Black Friday sales this year, there may be more time to consider final purchase decisions.
- Register — For safety precaution, register appliances after purchase. Occasionally manufacturers may identify problems with an appliance once the product is in use. Normally, a quick in-home fix by a qualified technician will eliminate risk, but it can be difficult for manufacturers to contact customers. Registering with the manufacturer may also save money, entitling customers to extend a warranty or guarantee period.
- Trade-In — UK households have about £1 billion worth of electrical and electronic equipment that are no longer in use. Trading in these old products can save money. For example, retailer Argos offers a Gadget Trade-in scheme, accepting secondhand tablets and mobiles in return for credit toward future purchases.
- (Or, if it doesn’t work, recycle it) — Of around 1.4 million tonnes of electricals discarded in the UK each year, around a third is waste, ending up in the landfill.
“SMART buying is all about buying better, sensibly, and sustainably,” Clayton said. “Keeping a cool head, and our guide in mind, before you even step inside a store or enter an online shop on Black Friday should help you make the right buying decisions.”