Currys boss calls out government’s e-waste scheme: ‘The proposal won’t work’

Currys chief executive Alex Baldock has called out the UK government’s e-waste recycling reforms, as he claims “the proposal won’t work”.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ruled that, starting from 2026, UK retailers will pay for public e-waste recycling.

Last year, the retailer generated £676million in sales through its recycling and repairs services. However, under the reform, Currys will no longer be able to charge to collect customers’ used white goods or TVs over 44″, which the business has used to help increase its sales.

Baldock wrote in The Sunday Times that the proposals will lead to “less recycling”, will cost consumers more, and will be a “burden for business”.

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“At Currys, we’re happy to repair and recycle millions of old fridges, laptops, mobile phones and televisions.

“We account for nearly half of all retail technology recycling in the UK and have built Europe’s largest electricals repair centre in Nottinghamshire,” he added.

Baldock wrote customers use the service but “can’t do it for free”.

“Making an adequate profit is our licence to invest in even more recycling and repairs. Instead, these proposals give an incentive to good businesses to do the bare minimum, to do less recycling. If you load extra costs on to retailers, we’ll have to pass them on to customers.

“Don’t penalise us (and competitors such as AO) for having invested in recycling; instead, tackle those (such as Amazon) that don’t offer the service at all, that merely sell products and forget about them,” Baldock added.

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