Argos rules out in-store take back

11 September 2006

High Street retailer Argos has ruled out offering in-store take-back services once new regulations make retailers and producers responsible for collecting waste electrical products.

Under the new rules, bringing into force the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive next year, retailers are to provide an adequate collection facilities for householders to return electronic products once they reach end of life.

But, retailers will also be able to join a distributors' deposit scheme, which will invest in collection infrastructure on their behalf to cover their Directive responsibility.

Speaking to yesterday, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Argos "will be looking to sign up to a compliance service once the regulations come into force".

The company's decision came after a three-month study into how it might have handled electronic waste arising as customers returned items. Working with WEEE logistics and reprocessing firm Wincanton, the work found that 95% of the products arising could be recycled.

During the trial electronic equipment returned to Argos stores were collected by Wincanton and taken to its electronics recycling facility in Billingham, Middlesbrough.

Argos has said that it will now be carrying out further trials in bid to find out the best way to handle its own electronic waste.

Mark Jones, project manager at Argos, said: "The partnership with Wincanton has been extremely useful in ascertaining the processes we need to have in place when legislation is introduced next year."

Simon Hill, commercial manager at Wincanton, said: "The Argos trial has been extremely useful, allowing us to test the Billingham plant and demonstrate its capability, whilst providing a crucial insight into the material breakdown and recovery rate."