Amazing year for local reuse and recycle company Tech-Takeback

A local business that collects old and unwanted electricals from residents for free has released a set of amazing figures as it celebrates its one-year anniversary.

Tech-Takeback launched its RevaluElectricals doorstep collection service last November and since then has picked up almost 27,000 electrical items from more than 2,000 city households and either refurbished the items for reuse in the local community or recycled them.

The service - the first of its kind in the UK - uses an app to enable the collection of devices such as mobile phones, computers and small appliances from the doorstep in a fully electric van with the aim of giving these items a second life.

Items distributed to local community

Donations are securely wiped clean of data before being refurbished and prepared for re-use. With the help of local charity partners, including Digital Brighton & Hove, Freegle, Refugee Radio and Tarner Community Project, items are redistributed locally to those in the community who are most at need.

A total of 5,463 items have been refurbed and redistributed for reuse, including more than 2,000 household electricals going to new homes, via Freegle, and 294 laptops being given to schools, charities and families that previously didn’t have access to digital technology.

57 desktop PCs have been given to local schools and 48 televisions provided to local charities, while 5,600 items have been disassembled for material and component recycling.

The service, launched in partnership with The ZeroNet and supported by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, enables residents to request a collection via the app or website.

The service saves electricals from landfill or scrap heap

Without the service, which was recently awarded the prestigious national title of ‘Circular Economy Project of the Year’, all of these electrical goods could have easily ended up in landfill or on the scrap heap.

In total, 25 tonnes of electricals have been collected, meaning almost 2,000 tonnes of environmentally harmful CO2 emissions have been saved by the scheme.

Co-founder and Managing Director of Tech-Takeback, Prof David Greenfield, is pleased with the success.

“The embracing of this service by Brighton & Hove residents shows that this is a service that many people can benefit from; those clearing space in their homes and those receiving items to improve their daily living.”

'My laptop has helped me incredibly'

One person who received a laptop said: “I felt like a young child at Christmas! It’s helped me so incredibly with my search for work and the interviews have been flooding in! 

“I can’t thank this organisation and the people who donate their unwanted items enough.”

A resident who donated a long unused video recorder, said: “My old VCR was picked up under the RevaluElectricals scheme. I think the last time I used it was about 15 years ago, but I didn’t want to just throw it away. 

“I felt a lot better about letting it go because I knew it would be recycled or reused if possible, and I now have a little less clutter, so that’s great!”

'It's great to help charities with donations'

Another resident said: “This scheme has made it so easy to dispose of your old electricals instead of leaving them hiding in drawers and cupboards. It’s great to know that the things you don’t want or need anymore can be given a new lease of life and used to help charities.”

Coombe Road School, Brighton, received 25 PCs, monitors, keyboards and mice.

The lead teacher for computing said: “We've never had so many working PCs before, there are now enough for most classes to have the use of one per child. It has made a huge difference to the children and their learning.”

'Council proud to sponsor scheme'

Councillor Amy Heley, co-chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “RevaluElectricals is a fantastic scheme that the council is very proud to sponsor.

“It allows our residents to declutter their homes of old and unwanted electricals, safe in the knowledge they will be professionally and securely refurbished and reused by people who need them, or carefully dismantled and recycled.

“The scheme is also making a very valuable contribution to our carbon neutral programme and I’d like to congratulate the team behind RevaluElectricals on their anniversary.”

Much of the distributing of the refurbished laptops was carried out by Digital Brighton & Hove, a project run by digital skills charity Citizens Online and the council.

'People mustn't be digitally excluded'

Project Coordinator Anna Dolphin said: “Imagine trying to navigate your way through life with zero access to the online world. The reality is that there are many living in our city right now who, for a number of reasons, find themselves completely ‘digitally excluded’.

“We believe that no one should be left behind in the digital world and our organisation helps local people every day to become more digitally confident. 

“If you have a device that you no longer need, please consider donating it through the RevaluElectricals service. It could be life changing for someone who is really struggling”.

Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus, said: “This project has been vital to ensuring that we make good use of our old electricals. Whether they are re-used or recycled, these items contain valuable materials that will otherwise be lost forever. 

'More than half a million small electrical items horded'

"Our research has shown that in the UK we are hoarding over 527 million small electrical items, an average of 20 per household, which is why we have recently launched our Recycle Your Electricals campaign. 

"We are delighted that Tech-Takeback, who are one of a number of  new re-use projects we are funding in the UK, has successfully collected and refurbished over 5,000 electricals.  So whether you are at home or work, please hunt out your old electricals and donate them to benefit your community.”

Residents who wish to donate electrical items via the service can find out more by visiting www.techtakeback.com

As part of our carbon neutral programme, Brighton & Hove is supporting the city to move to a circular economy. This aims to keep products and materials in use for as long as possible, saving natural resources and reducing carbon emissions.

Find out more about our work on the circular economy.