Co-op partners with Spring to trial tech recirculation services

Co-op has revealed a partnership with Spring that will see the supermarket enabling customers to put unused electronics back into circulation.

The recirculation service will be trialled across 20 Co-op locations, with the initial pilot making use of ‘kiosk-style pods’ that will enable consumers to sell pre-owned devices – including phones, tablets, e-readers, and smartwatches – which will then get either repaired, refurbished, reused or recycled. The pods accept around 12,000 types of device, with customers receiving payment within two to five days, which can be transferred to a bank account or charity. The service is initially slated to launch in London, England with locations across the UK – including Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, and Birmingham – slated to follow.

Spring also has plans to partner with other retailers, intending on rolling out over 250 pods across the nation in the next year. The company states that this will put approximately 100,000 devices back into circulation, which translates into a aggregate annual emissions reduction of over 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Spring asserts that, in circumstances where donated devices cannot be reused, all remaining components will be recycled in order to ensure that nothing is sent to either landfill or incineration.

Beyond decreasing the number of electronics that end up in the waste stream, as well as the number of new devices that need to be manufactured due to the proliferation of reused appliances within the market, the recirculation of digital technology also sees the diversion of precious metals away from landfill. Spring hopes that, with the expansion of this project, of the £370 million (€436 million) of precious metals found within discarded electronic devices annually in the UK – including gold, copper, aluminium, and steel – a significant amount can be retrieved and used within technologies including wind turbines, solar panels, artificial joints, and pacemakers.