This information is for volunteers collecting electronic pledges as part of the council’s Circular Economy Champions scheme.

We're hoping to make Brighton & Hove a city that chooses to repair, recycle and reuse. All sorts of things would otherwise go to the landfill or be incinerated.

This information pack helps you pass on tips and information to family and friends. This can help keep things in circulation longer.

The Circular Economy Champions scheme

Hundreds of volunteers are collecting 20 pledges to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. These pledges are from friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

This scheme can have a real impact on waste reduction in the city.

Funding comes from a European project called BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy.

Extra support comes from local reuse and repair shops, these include:

How the pledges will help our economy

We have a linear economy. This means raw materials are made into products that consumers use until they discard them as waste. 

Pledges are new actions someone commits to, that support the development of a circular economy. This involves recycling, repairing, returning and reusing products for as long as possible.

These pledges can:

  • save residents money
  • save the council money to invest in other services
  • support Circular Economy businesses that offer reuse and repair services in Brighton & Hove

You can:

What we'll do

We will:

  • record pledges and analyse the behaviour changes that happen because of the scheme
  • encourage Champions to visit their pledges again in the future

This will help us find out if the pledges are having a positive impact on the numbers of people implementing the changes.

The linear, recycling and circular economy

Demonstrating the linear, recycling and circular economy

Image source: The R Collective

In the linear economy, household waste is converted into a reusable material at the ‘get rid’ stage. While this means the waste doesn't end up in landfill or energy recovery straight away, energy and materials are still needed to recycle.

For most materials there's a limited number of times that material can be recycled before it needs to be thrown away. 

In a circular economy, rather than waiting until the ‘get rid’ stage, extending the products' life is possible at the creation stage. This prevents waste and pollution.

A circular economy:

  • reduces the materials used
  • makes the production less resource intensive
  • recaptures waste as a resource to manufacture new products without the use of virgin materials at the end of the products' life

The best ways to reduce waste

Image illustrating the waste hierarchy, from most favoured to least favoured options. In the following order reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, recover, dispose.

Image source: The waste hierarchy London School of Economics and Political Science

As part of this toolkit, you’ll receive a form for collecting and monitoring pledges.

When you collect pledges, encourage people to prioritise the most preferred options like reduce and reuse. 

On the electronics pledge form, we’ve given examples of actions residents could take. We've listed actions with the greatest impact first. For example - repair damaged electronics to avoid buying new ones. 

Actions lower down have less impact like - stop throwing old electronics in the bin, and instead and instead donate or recycle them.

Electronics pledge examples and forms

Some suggestions for pledge examples are:

  1. I'll extend the life of my existing technology by not upgrading unless I need to.
  2. I'll protect my devices from accidental damage with a case or cover so they don't become damaged beyond repair.
  3. I'll be thoughtful: could one device serve multiple functions instead of having several devices which do everything separately.
  4. I'll try before you buy. I'll hire or borrow a device to see if it's right for me and if I'll use it as much as I think.
  5. I'll borrow electrical tools from the Brighton Community Workshop's Tool Library.
  6. If I have electrical devices that I don't use often I will rent them out on Fat Llama.
  7. If my device is broken, I'll try to repair it - with the help of tutorials on YouTube, and forums to show me how.
  8. I'll learn to repair by bringing my electrical device to my next local repair cafe or to Brighton Community Workshop's Repair Shop.
  9. Next time I buy an electronic device, I'll choose a company that allows me to return it for repair or replacement.
  10. When I buy my next new device, I'll explore refurbished ones first.
  11. I'll clear out my drawers of unused electricals and send them for reuse.
  12. I'll unplug all non-essential electronic items and avoid leaving them on standby to reduce my electricity use and energy bills.
  13. I'll volunteer with RevaluIT, our city's first 'pay what you can' shop for refurbished electricals at the bottom of North Street.
  14. I'll involve a friend to be an Electronics Champion and collect 20 pledges from friends, families, colleagues or neighbours.

You can also:

Conversation starters

Talking to neighbours, or close friends, about their habits and behaviours can be challenging. 

It’s good to use open questions, to avoid suggesting a right or wrong way to do things. This helps people to trust you and not feel judged.

Try one of these questions to start a conversation.

  1. What is the oldest or newest piece of technology you own?
  2. 60% of Brits have unused electronics sitting around at home. Do you have electronics not being used in a drawer somewhere?
  3. Do you have any memories, from childhood or more recently, of getting an electronic device repaired?
  4. What have you experienced to be the greatest barrier to repairing or donating electronics?
  5. What motivates you to hold on to electrical devices?

Interesting facts

When you collect pledges, use some of these interesting facts to help people make good choices around electronic consumption, reuse, repair and recycling.


The average Brit replaces their smart phone every 2 to 3 years, and less than 9% of these are reused or refurbished products.

We could run out of materials found in smartphones in less than a century.

Indium is a metal used to create touch screens for phones and computers. According to president of the European Chemical Society, the world's indium supply is extremely thinly spread across the planet. It could soon dry up if we continue throwing away our old devices every few years.

Electronic waste

Electronic or e-waste is thought to be both the fastest growing waste stream globally and the fastest growing waste stream in Europe.

The UK is the second largest producer of household e-waste in the world after Norway.

The UK has significantly lower collection and recycling rates for e-waste than other countries in the European region

The financial cost

Electronics contain valuable non-renewable resources including gold, silver, copper, platinum, aluminium and cobalt. When we throw them away without recycling, we are throwing away precious materials. Precious metals in global e-waste has a potential value of $62.5 billion annually.

Find out more about how your mobile phone is powered by precious metals and minerals.

Mining from ore could be 13 times more expensive than recovering metals from e-waste.

The health cost

E-waste contains hundreds of different materials and toxic substances including lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and flame retardants. These leach into the environment and contaminate drinking water.

The UK is the worst offender in Europe for illegal e-waste exports to developing countries, with most of its waste going to Africa.

The climate cost

Mining gold from discarded electronics creates 80% less emissions compared with mining it from the ground

If everyone in the UK handed in one of their unused devises for recycling, this would save 3.2 million tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to the carbon savings of 665 wind turbines running for a year.

Circular electronics services in the city


How to keep safe

However you choose to collect pledges, it's important to think about Health and Safety.

The table below shows some common considerations for any activity. This list is not exhaustive, and if you have any questions, send an email to


Control measures

Threat of verbal abuse or physical assault

  • carry a charged mobile phone
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • do not confront or respond to members of the public
  • if the situation escalates contact the police

Slips, trips and falls

  • wear sensible, weather appropriate clothing
  • be observant and cautious
  • take special care in leafy or wet weather

Pre-existing medical conditions

  • volunteers are responsible for carrying and administering any medication Emergency services should be contacted for any medical emergencies

Lone working

  • alert someone where you will be and when you will return
  • carry a charged mobile phone

Safe lifting

  • think before lifting and remove obstructions
  • keep the load as close to the body as possible
  • keep the heaviest side of the load closest to the body
  • avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways