This month, O2 celebrates the ten-year anniversary of its industry-leading O2 Recycle scheme, the longest running scheme of its kind in the UK. The initiative, where customers can trade in their old devices for cash incentives, is run in partnership with Redeem and has saved 450 tonnes of mobile phone waste from going to landfill, with all devices received being data-wiped and reused, or recycled.
Since the launch ten years ago, O2 has paid out a total of £226m to UK customers trading in their devices – and over the last couple of years, this value has been averaging £500,000 each week. O2 Recycle complements O2 Refresh and O2 Custom Plans as a way of letting all customers use the value of their old device to get the handset they want. O2 Recycle is integrated into the online upgrade process, so customers are directed to the scheme whenever they are looking to upgrade to a new device to encourage sustainable and responsible disposal of old phones.
Typically 95% of devices received are in good condition and are resold back into market. A high proportion of sales now take place within the UK, reducing carbon emissions from transport and helping UK customers benefit from cost-effective devices.
September recycle surge
The first device ever recycled, way back in the late noughties, was a Nokia N95. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these throw-back models are now few and far between, and around 70% of all phones sent to the scheme are Apple iPhones. September is often the busiest time of year for the scheme, coinciding with the launch of the new iPhone, with this year being no exception – the current top registered device at the moment is the iPhone X 64GB.
Nicola Green, Director of Corporate Affairs at O2, says: “As a responsible business, we recognise the importance of doing the right thing for our customers and for the planet. We’re extremely proud that, over the last ten years, our pioneering O2 Recycle scheme has saved 450 tonnes of waste from landfill – that’s the equivalent of thirty-five London buses, as well as paying over £225 million back to environmentally conscious customers.”
Simon Dunn, Group Managing Director at Redeem, adds: “We have partnered with O2 for the last ten years, and both parties have invested in O2 Recycle as we believe it’s the right thing to do for our customers, for the environment, and for the industry in general. We are proud to offer a sustainable and competitive option at all times for all customers and look forward to hopefully another ten years and more of this important work.”
Earlier this year, O2 announced that it had achieved recertification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain at level 3, the highest possible level. The standard is the world’s first independent certification for recognising organisations that are measuring, managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions within their supply chains, demonstrating leadership in their industry by making real progress year-on-year. O2 was also the first mobile company in the world to achieve the Carbon Trust Triple Standard for carbon, water and waste, and to introduce an Eco rating for new phones – working with manufacturers to assess handset sustainability credentials, providing an overall rating to help customers make an informed decision.
The company is taking action to eliminate single-use plastics from O2-branded accessories by the end of the year, reducing its environmental impact through a more innovative approach to packaging. O2 is also now stocking a range of SKECH BioCase cases for iPhone made from 100% Biodegradable and natural materials with zero plastics. Additionally, in the last year O2 sold over 250,000 phones without chargers, reducing the pile-up of additional unwanted chargers and electronic waste.