As retailers and shoppers get on the starting blocks for today’s highly charged Black Friday, sustainability organisation WRAP has launched a guide to buying electricals that will help shoppers buy just what they need, first time round.
The advice is simple: plan ahead, keep calm, buy smarter and keep the environment in mind. You’ll probably save yourself some extra cash along the way, too.
Each year the UK buys 2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic products (EEE), and generates around 1.5 million tonnes of waste EEE (WEEE).
With an anticipated surge in sales of electrical goods on Black Friday, shoppers can avoid getting carried along with the crowds, buy what they need and get the most out of their electrical goods – all while reducing their environmental impact.
WRAP’s advice is to follow its SMART guide to shopping:
Make a decision
‘SMART buying is all about buying better, sensibly, and sustainably. Keeping a cool head, and our guide in mind, before you even step inside a store, or enter an online shop on Black Friday, should help you make the right buying decisions.
‘But don’t forget to enjoy your new product! Take time to set it up properly and maintain it to get the best out of your purchase. And understand your rights for return. Although we hope that if you’ve done your research and been smart about your purchase, you’ll be happy with your product and avoid having to return it.’
Delivery manager, Electricals and Circular Business Models at WRAP
Spend time researching and working out where to be (in store or online) – and when – to get the deal you want. Also consider whether each product on your list is fit for purpose; is it compatible with your existing technology, is it going to fit where you want it to go? This should help your decision-making so you can buy and use a product that is right for you.
Decide what you’re going to buy before you go out to get it. Before you go out to target a purchase, try to think about the lifetime of your chosen product and its true value for money. Some products are designed to reduce their overall environmental impact. These products are usually more than just energy efficient – they’re designed to last longer, or be cleaned, repaired, upgraded or recycled more easily.
Stick to your plan to get the bargains you want, rather than impulse buying something you haven’t researched (and probably don’t need). Make sure you don’t go in for a toaster and come out with a TV. Some retailers are extending their Black Friday sales this year, so you may have more time than you think to make your final decision.
Do this as a safety precaution when you get home. In a small number of cases, manufacturers may identify problems with an appliance after the product has been in use for some time. Normally a quick in-home fix by a qualified technician will banish any risk, but it can be difficult to trace customers as they don’t usually provide contact details when they buy a product. Registering is made easy here. Registering with the manufacturer may also save you money by entitling you to an extended warranty or guarantee period.
Take back old products that you’re replacing to save some extra money. Argos offers a Gadget Trade-in scheme where you can trade in secondhand tablets and mobiles in return for credit off future purchases. WRAP research shows UK householders have around £1 billion worth of electrical and electronic equipment in their homes which they no longer use – items you could sell to high street shops, sell online or donate to a charity shop.
Of around 1.5 million tonnes of electricals discarded in the UK each year, roughly a quarter ends up in the bin. If your electrical item no longer works, take a look at WRAP’s local Recycling Locator to see where you could recycle old products instead.
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