Online electricals retailer AO has acquired Shropshire-based WEEE specialist The Recycling Group (TRG) to form what is considered to be the UK’s largest fridge and WEEE recycling company.
The two firms have joined forces to launch AO Recycling – which is expected to recycle 700,000 fridges a year from a ‘cutting edge’ new plant in Telford.
The site will also process other large WEEE items including washing machines, tumble driers and dishwashers, as well as refurbishing appliances bought in from AO customers for resale.
According to AO, TRG has closed its former recycling plant in Knighton, Powys, to focus solely on the AO Recycling operation at Telford, which has created 200 jobs.
Anthony Sant, sales and marketing director at AO Recycling, said the acquisition is a ‘significant move’ by AO into the recycling sector.
He said: “As a retailer we are constantly looking for ways we can take on all aspects of the supply chain, whether it is sales or logistics.
“We want to build on TRG’s knowledge and expertise to change the way the UK recycles domestic appliances at their end of life. We will significantly increase UK WEEE recycling capacity and aim to deliver industry-leading materials recovery rates.”
And, Mr Sant pointed out that the UK faces a ‘big challenge’ with more electrical items being sold each year.
“With the launch of AO Recycling, it means we can play our part as a retailer in ensuring our customers’ old products don’t end up in landfill but are given a new lease of life – either through recycling or reuse.”
AO said all packaging from its customers’ new products will be brought to the Telford AO Recycling plant for recycling.
AO is understood to see recycling as an essential part of its retail service in terms of providing a high quality customer experience. Mr Sant explained: “Customers demand us to take away their old appliances and AO has a duty of care to deal with them in the best and most responsible way.”
State-of-the-art equipment at the Telford site recovers a range of materials, such as metals, gases, plastics, refrigerants and oils.
Steve Caunce, CEO at AO, said: “AO and TRG have been a perfect match from the very beginning and together we’re excited to transform the way electrical appliances are recycled in the UK. The plant we have built in Telford will set new standards and take the industry to another level.
He continued: “We anticipate the new company will make a significant contribution to meeting UK recycling targets for fridges and other Large Domestic Appliances. In our first year we are aiming to recycle more than one fifth of the fridges thrown away annually. This has the potential to be a game-changer for the industry.”
WEEE Conference 2017
- AO Recycling’s Anthony Sant is one of a wide range of speakers at the WEEE Conference, discussing the present and future of the UK’s WEEE System, to be held in London on June 21. More information at: www.weeeconference.com