Over a quarter of a million smartphones, tablets, and accessories were saved from landfill last year, through the pioneering O2 Recycle scheme.
The scheme encourages customers – regardless of their network – to trade in unwanted devices in exchange for a cash-back boost. O2 Recycle also supports businesses to recycle their e-waste.
Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “With more than 3.8 million devices sustainably recycled since 2009, O2 Recycle is playing a leading role in tackling e-waste across the UK.
“O2 Recycle is a win-win for people and the planet: it’s preventing devices from ending up in landfill, and it’s a simple and easy way for consumers to dispose of their unwanted tech and get rewarded for doing so – with £320 million paid out to date.”
In 2022, O2 Recycle paid out more than £36 million to consumers for their devices, processing on average more than 950 handsets per working day.
Of these devices, 92% were data wiped, refurbished, and resold as ‘like new’ products to customers – supporting the circular economy, with the remainder broken down for raw materials. None of the tech which goes through O2 Recycle ends up in landfill.
The UK currently produces more electrical waste per person than any other country in the world (after Norway) and, according to Virgin Media O2 research there are more than 17.5 million unused phones and tablets stashed away in UK homes.
That’s why the O2 Recycle scheme is a crucial part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections Plan – the company’s sustainability strategy. It is one of the ways the company is helping to tackle e-waste, supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions by the end of 2025. Last year, Virgin Media O2 recycled, resold, and repaired 2.4 million devices – including handsets and customer equipment such as routers and set-top boxes.