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Manufacturer uses returned items to boost electronic circularity


The need to recycle and re-use electronic equipment has spurred a top manufacturer to adopt a new circular economy approach.

Coffee machine manufacturer Melitta has partnered with Trojan Electronics to adopt a new circular approach to production that has led to 78 per cent of its beyond repair returned electronic items being processed and harvested for spare parts.

As part of the company’s continued sustainability efforts, it has incorporated improved electronic circularity processes into its returned items operations, recovered 484 returned coffee machines to A1 standard already this year that has saved almost 500 machines going to landfill.

Trojan Electronics was able to remove the returned machines’ brand-new parts such as coffee grinders, water tanks and sensors units, which are then reused in the other units to make them perfect again.

As part of the process each item and its component parts are catalogued, providing full details on each unit should it have any warranty issues in future. All findings are shared with the manufacturer so it can review the original manufacturing processes to continually improve processes and reduce waste in the future.

Following refurbishment, each unit is tested to make sure it produces a perfect cup of coffee, before being cleaned and reboxed in its returned packaging, ensuring as many of the product’s original parts are reused, in the refurbished ‘Like New’ units.

Sustainability is at the forefront of the entire process with both businesses partnering to prevent the unnecessary waste of good parts and machines. With the support of Trojan Electronics, Melitta Group continues to make sustainability a top priority for the entire global company and its operations.

“We are on a mission to transform the returns processes of all UK manufacturers and retailers, putting sustainability and circular solutions at the heart of them,” James Rigg, CEO at Trojan Electronics, said. “In the last 12 months we’ve saved over 30,000 electrical items from landfill. Unbeknownst to most consumers, when an electronic item is returned in imperfect condition it is cheaper for manufacturers and retailers to throw it away rather than repurpose it and put it back up for sale. This leads to millions of perfectly good items being dumped in landfill unnecessarily due to commercial priorities taking precedent over environmental ones.

“Preventing this wastage and repurposing perfectly good machines means that many more people can enjoy a Melitta coffee machine that may not have been able to previously. The brand is leading the way by offering the ‘Like New’ machines for sale on its website alongside brand-new machines, removing the perceived taboo of refurbished electronics.

“As well as saving almost 500 machines from landfill we have also been able to make some improvements to the manufacturing process ensuring that the number of returns are reducing in future.”

Nigel Morrison, consumer and trade marketing manager at Melitta UK Ltd, said: “We firmly believe that sustainability is the key to our future, as a society and as a company. For us sustainability is a continuous journey, therefore we think of it in transformational terms and take a holistic approach. Working with Trojan Electronics on our returns processes has meant we can minimise wastage, reducing our impact on the plant and allowing many more people to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee at the push of a button.”

Research from CLEAR, a UK trade body for improved circular electronic industry practices, which Trojan is a member of, found that two-thirds (67 per cent) of consumers say that the environmental credentials of a brand or retailer matter to them when buying a product.

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