Communications toolkit for retailers taking back electricals in store

A communications toolkit is now available to help retailers comply with imminent changes to the law that will oblige them to accept consumers’ old electricals in store for recycling.

Media release, 27 November 2020

From 1 January 2021 all retailers of large physical electrical and electronic products will be obliged to follow the new rules.  To help retailers, Material Focus, the not for profit organisation behind the “Recycle Your Electricals” campaign, has developed a Retailer Communications Toolkit, in collaboration with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) (part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)). The toolkit has been tested with a range of  businesses to help ensure consistency across all consumer communications relating to retailer take-back of electrical and electronic equipment.

Electrical waste is now one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, and in the UK.  The retailer take back scheme has been set up to help address the issue of electrical waste by making it easier for UK householders to recycle their electricals. From January all large physical electrical and electronic retailers that sell over £100,000 of electricals per annum will be expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum requirement – retailers will need to accept old electricals that they sell on a like-for-like basis, meaning if you buy a charger from your local electrical retailer then you can drop off your old one there
  • For some electrical and electronic retailers – they will go over and above the basic requirements and will accept more electricals eg. some retailers accept any old electricals at any store for recycling, regardless of whether you bought a new electrical item there or not.
  • Brands with multi-site stores selling a variety of different products may need to communicate differently in different stores, and should ensure that store staff advise consumers, that larger goods can only be returned to specific stores.
  • Online only retailers and smaller electrical and electronic retailers will join in January 2022.

Vanessa Gibbin, Marketing & Behaviour Change Lead at Material Focus said:  “We’ve worked with OPSS to develop this toolkit of communications to help ensure consistency and clarity across all consumer communications relating to retailer take-back. Most consumers know that recycling is the right thing to do, but we need to make it clear and simple for them to know exactly how to do that. Waste electricals are the fastest growing waste stream in the world, so this is a great opportunity for the UK to reduce their impact on the planet.”

The following editable communication materials have been included the toolkit to ensure retailer communications comply with the regulations:

  • Strut card at till
  • In-store poster
  • Point of sale reminders
  • Website content 
  • Window decal
  • Till prompt
  • Packaging options
  • Online point of sale messaging
  • Key points for staff training

For more information on the toolkit and its downloadable assets please contact

Vanessa Gibbin, Marketing & Behaviour Change Lead said:  “The Recycle Your Electricals Campaign has also recently launched a Recycling Locator, to make it easier for UK households to recycle their electricals.  The locator currently has 2,500 recycling points in the UK which accept electricals.  We are working with large retailers who will be taking back electricals from January 2021 to add their store locations to the locator.  We encourage any retailers that haven’t yet contacted us to do so as soon as possible to ensure their locations are added in time for January 2021.”

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Kate Hinton, mobile 07714 708416.

Material Focus (formerly the WEEE Fund), is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to stop the nation throwing away or hoarding all their old small electricals. It has launched the new UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign. The campaign is revealing the value hidden in electricals and is making it easier for us all to recycle and reuse the small electricals we no longer need by providing more recycling points as well as providing practical information on how households can recycle.

The campaign is funded by producers of electrical appliances. The UK government sets annual targets for the recycling of all waste electricals, including small electricals. If producers of electrical appliances don’t meet this target, then they contribute towards a fund. Since 2017 over £15 million has been raised, which pays for a range of activities including communications, behaviour change activities, increasing  recycling collection points and options and technical research. Ultimately the aim is to support actions that will help the UK increase the levels of reuse and recycling of waste electricals.

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