National Recycle Week 2021 - Step It Up

  • Become a better recycler

The 20th -26th September 2021 is Recycle Week in the UK. This is Recycle Now’s flagship annual event now in its 18th year and is the one week of the year where retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments and the media all come together to achieve one goal: getting the public to recycle more of the right things, more often. This year the annual celebration of all things recycling is challenging business and consumers to Step It Up – using the occasion as an opportunity to stop and think about what recycling you can do differently or more of, to improve environmental outcomes. TekRefresh is joining them and supporting the Step It Up Online campaign by asking our followers and readers to Step It Up too.

  • Introducing the Waste and Resources Action Programme

The Recycle Now project is delivered by WRAP – the Waste and Resources Action Programme – a registered charity that works across six continents with governments, businesses and citizens, to create a world where resources are sourced and used sustainably. The clear message for 2021 is that during the pandemic there were many aspects of our day to day lives that we had no real control over, but how we choose to recycle and interact with the circular economy is 100% in our own hands, so why not embrace and act on that personal or indeed corporate power?

"It takes less energy and fewer emissions to recycle than to make things from scratch, which is why recycling saves a total of 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year in the UK" -  

  • Big business is supporting Step It Up

Usually funded by DEFRA, this year there are some really big donor names who have come on board including McDonalds, Waitrose, Ocado, Coop, Amazon and Danone. When it comes to E-waste – our area of particular interest - original retailers like Amazon are offering recycling programmes that make it really easy for consumers to reinsert their waste electronic products into the circular economy. Amazon offer 3 distinct return routes including collection points, pick-up or pre-paid return labels and are donating £5 to WRAP for each electrical and electronic device returned to them before 31st of October 2021.

  • Every individual action matters

What can you do to maximise the impact of your personal recycling action in terms of E-waste? One of the most effective changes you can make is to get into the habit of honestly evaluating the real condition of an electrical item that you no longer want, need or use. All you need to do is spend a minute thinking about whether it can be repaired/donated/sold or recycled rather than sending it to landfill. Take the time to verify if the item is really at the end of its useful life or is it just at the end of the life it has spent in your care? Instead of buying brand new items why not look at reconditioned options instead – TEKrefresh always looks to source reconditioned devices which not only supports the circular economy but also saves us money.

Change your thinking from seeing yourself as a solo end-user of the natural resources that were used to make your device to seeing yourself as the temporary custodian of those resources. Take responsibility and you’ll find yourself saving both resources and money, as you may well decide you don’t really need that next phone upgrade or that you’d prefer to get your existing tablet repaired. This simple resource guardianship activity is totally free of charge and accessible to absolutely everyone so please get into the habit of using it.

So many electronic items still work or just need a little care and attention to make them viable for reuse. For personal E-waste this can be done though charity shops or for business E-waste professional recycling companies like TekRefresh can guide you through every stage of the donation or resale process. Each year in the UK it’s estimated that our unwanted electrical items have a donation value of over £160 million. Donating or selling for reuse is a win-win for everyone - demand for raw materials and CO2 emissions are reduced and low-income households can access affordable products. Someone, somewhere will thank you and it feels good to be part of the solution not the problem.           

  • Step It Up top tips

Only buy from retailers that have a WEEE takeback programme in place

If they don’t have one ask them why not – big retailers listen to their customers

Ask your employer what they are doing to reduce E-waste

Join national campaigns like Step It Up and Recycle Your Electricals

Stop and think rather than just throw away

Prevent precious earth resources from going to waste

Remember that one person’s waste is another person’s treasure

Assume responsibility for exploring a viable second life for all your used electronics