UK’s largest household appliance recycling plant opens

The plant will process fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, tumble driers and other households electrical waste, with online retailer AO saying it will process more than 700,000 appliances in the plant’s first year

The majority of appliances arriving at the site for recycling, or for refurbishment and resale, will have arrived from AO.com customers who have purchased a new product. The online retailer moved into recycling earlier this year with the construction of the new facility and the launch of AO Recycling.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, who officially opened the plant, said: ‘Congratulations to AO. This is a significant step by a British business to increase our capacity to recycle fridges and other electrical household appliances.

‘We believe we need to shift the emphasis to a system based on retailer take-back – and that consumers should rightly expect this as standard when they buy a new product. It will require a collective approach to managing WEEE from retailers, producers, recyclers and policymakers to increase home collections from customers.

‘Although collection and recycling of household electrical items is increasing, we all have a responsibility to our environment and it is only through businesses, consumers, and government working together that we will recycle more and protect our environment for the next generation.’

AO.com CEO Steve Caunce said ‘AO Recycling Telford is trailblazing a new approach to electrical goods recycling in the UK which will have benefits for society, the environment and our economy. At the heart of that approach is the principle that the retailer should take away unwanted items from their customers.

‘We’re leading the way with our first plant in Telford and believe this is the start of a revolutionary new way of doing things.’

AO Recycling’s Anthony Sant said: ‘AO Recycling is the first stage in our ambitious plans to transform the way we recycle WEEE in the UK. It’s the biggest investment in UK fridge recycling in more than a decade and will play a vital role in ensuring we have the capacity needed to deal with the millions of appliances which are thrown away every year.’

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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