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Leading UK Retailers Set ‘New Life, Not Landfill’ World Record with Washing Machine Tech Tower

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Store manager rallies the UK’s largest retail technology recycler to shine a light on the nation’s growing e-waste problem

Leading UK Retailers Set ‘New Life, Not Landfill’ World Record with Washing Machine Tech Tower

Today, the UK’s largest tech recycler, Currys PC World has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for the largest pyramid of washing machines ever recorded. The build has been  made by the retailer to demonstrate its commitment to ‘New Life Not Landfill’ by giving old machines a fresh purpose through either recycling, repairing or rehoming, in light of the UK’s growing e-waste problem. Nearly half (48%) of the UK isn’t aware that used tech can been recycled  and due to this lack of knowledge, the country has an annual 1.45m tonne e-waste problem, with lots of old tech ending up in landfill.  

Built during National Recycling Week, the ‘New Life Not Landfill’ world record attempt is the brainchild of Bolton store manager, Darren Kenworthy. Darren solely pushed for the record and convinced his employers to take part in a madcap scheme to intercept and stack 1,490 used washing machines that on their way to be recycled, to raise awareness of e-waste. 

The pyramid of 1,490 washing machines is estimated to be the equivalent of 104.3 tonnes of WEEE recycling, which would normally take the retailer just over half a day to collect. In 2020, 43% of all e waste collected by UK retailers was collected by Currys PC World, which has recycled over 750,000 tonnes of tech since 2007. 

Currys PC World has long-standing recycling -services which aims to help tackle e-waste in the UK by allowing customers to have old tech items picked up for a small fee, and as part of its commitment to helping Britain to recycle technology easily and affordably, customers and non-customers can also take  their e-waste into their stores to be recycled, re-used or re-homed for free. 

Continuing to put Lancashire on the map after it hosted some of the world’s most influential speakers at  the recent G7 Speaker’s Summit last week, the ‘New Life Not Landfill’ installation in Bolton features 1,490 pre-loved washing machines, all collected or returned across the North West. The record  represents the fact that 97% of everything recycled with Currys PC World sits within the white goods  category. The retailer would like this to change and is encouraging the nation to embrace the recycling  of smaller tech items such as headphone, kettles and toasters.

Recent research by Currys PC World, revealed that around 68% of Brits are confused about where and how to dispose of their tech, despite local councils, services and retailers offering free collection and drop-off services. The tech tower, which reaches an impressive 48 feet, equating to the height of almost four giraffes, aims to drive awareness of how easy it is to dispose of old, unwanted, or broken tech safely and responsibly, showcasing the retailer’s recycling and repair services in the UK. 

In line with their usual repair/recycle journey, all the washing machines used as part of the installation will be recycled at Currys PC World and if there are some life left, these will be taken away to be re loved at one of the many community causes the retailer supports across the UK. If the appliances are at  the end of their life, they will be recycled at a partner company where they’ll be broken down and created into new products including new tech! 

Chris Brown, senior sustainability manager at Currys PC World commented on the record-setting move: “Given e-waste in the UK is a growing problem, as the UK’s largest electrical retailer, it’s imperative that  we support our customers to ensure they are disposing of household appliances and tech in a safe and responsible way. We also want to make the most of goods that could be repaired and even re-homed, rather than just throwing them in household bins by default.  

“We hope that this new life not landfill world record installation strikes a nerve with Brits and help them  to realise that recycling their technology is easy and also affordable. Using recycle points, e-waste collection, used exchange platforms and drop off points in our stores will give your old items a new life rather than them ending in landfill. 

“Currently, 97% of everything recycled with Currys PC World sits within the white goods category. However, there is still a long way to go as thousands of appliances continue to end up in landfill despite convenient collection services from both ourselves and other local council services.  

“Our tech tower of washing machines hopes to drive awareness of the growing e-waste problem in the UK, highlighting how easy it is for customers to recycle, repair and re-home their tech with our nationwide recycling services.” 

Darren Kenworthy, general manager at Currys PC World, Preston, comments on the success of the World Record:  “I’m chuffed that Currys took a leap of faith when I suggested that we attempt to build a pyramid of used washing machines before they go to be recycled. 

“Given e-waste is a contributor to UK landfill, I thought a world record installation would shine a light on just how easy it is to recycle with Currys. We partnered with Ainscough Training to make the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS happen and this week has been fantastic. I’m so glad there has been so much positivity and support surrounding the build from right across the business. It looks super impressive! 

“I know that over 90% of the tech we recycle is white goods, but there are people out there who still don’t know what to do with their other unused household tech.”

Pravin Patel, adjudicator at Guinness World Record, says: “I verify unique GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempts all the time, and this one is certainly very unusual! The pyramid is an impressive sight and the team at Currys and Ainscough Training have made  the build look easy.  

“I didn’t realise quite how much of an impact e-waste has on our planet and how easy it is to recycle tech, big or small. I for one will certainly now be taking my old tech to Currys rather than queuing at the tip!” 

Currys PC World customers can have tech, including white goods, collected from their home from £15, where any other tech such as TVs, laptops and consoles can be taken away for free when the retailer delivers large items. Customers can also take any tech into store to be recycled for free. 

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M&C Saatchi London, Fri, 24 Sep 2021 14:01:54 GMT