At AO, ‘care’ is one of our core values. We care about how we work. We care about getting it right. And we really care about being green! (No surprises there.) We’ve already made big changes, from opening one of the UK’s biggest kitchen appliance recycling plants to running our warehouses on 100% renewable energy, and we’re taking steps to do even more.
Here’s just a few of the things we’ve done to minimise our impact on the environment…
We recycle more than 700,000 fridges a year to make would-be waste great again. More than 3.5 million old fridges are thrown away in the UK every year – and the number is growing. That’s why we make recycling as easy as possible for our customers. And we take care of much more than just fridges. We’ll come and take all kinds of large kitchen appliances off your hands to save you a trip to the tip. There’s no need to buy anything from us to use the service and it means you know you’re doing your bit for the environment too. It’s a win-win.
Wherever possible, machines are repaired and refurbished for resale. It’s a safe and sustainable solution to all those appliances that aren’t quite ready for recycling, which is great for the environment because nothing’s wasted. We like to think of them as pre-loved appliances – after they leave us they go to new homes to carry on their job. Our reuse facility is the first in the world to be certified to a new standard for transforming waste electricals into reusable appliances. In total, we refurbish or repair around 200,000 appliances every year and we’re proud that our industry-leading practices have been officially recognised.
We’re doing our bit to keep the plastics in our industry out of landfill. Appliances that have reached the end of their life are given the full AO Recycling treatment – they’re broken apart and sorted into metals, plastics and insulation foam at our state-of-the-art plant. These are all then sold on as raw materials for shiny new products.
We’ve been thinking outside the box to use less packaging overall and more packaging that can be recycled.
AO Logistics will banish bubble wrap by summer 2021! By getting rid, we’ll be able to reduce the amount of plastic in our warehouse by a massive 70%. But don’t worry, it won’t mean less protection inside boxes, because we’ve invented AO Armour. This super strong packaging can be used again and again for lots of deliveries, making it much friendlier for the environment. Trialling AO Armour in our returns process, we’ve already reduced the need for bubble wrap by approximately 10,000 rolls per year.
And while we work towards banishing bubble wrap completely, every roll we still use in our warehouse and depot is made from 30% recycled content. So far, we’ve used 20,500kg of recycled material – and that number’s growing every day.
We’re going full throttle when it comes to finding opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of our logistics fleet. We carefully plan all the journeys for our delivery teams using clever tech to avoid taking wrong turns and clocking up more miles than we need to. We don’t like empty trucks either. An empty truck is a wasted journey, so by taking away old appliances and packaging for customers, we make things easier and greener!
17 of our 25 warehouses currently operate on renewable energy, a number we're continually working to increase. The power of the sun and wind lets us keep our lights on, which not only allows us to cut our carbon emissions right down but means we can give some of this energy back to the National Grid. And every new location we open from now on will run on green energy too.
Our offices are set up to help us reduce waste. Our lights automatically turn off when movement isn’t detected for a while and there are handy reminders for AOers to only print the essentials and turn off computers when they can. To ‘care’ is part of our DNA at AO, so when it comes to looking after our planet, we’re all working together to do the right thing.
We want to have the happiest customers, so when you told us you wanted greener ways to shop with us, we made it happen.
Our website will now show you more eco-friendly alternatives to the electricals you’re browsing, so you can make an informed decision. We’ll also let you know if there’s an eco-friendly delivery slot available when you come to buy. So, if we’re already heading your way for another delivery, we will offer you a similar timeslot for free.
We made friends with Co2 Neural who help us to run carbon neutral websites in both the UK and Germany. Unfortunately, every website needs electricity to exist. By recognising and calculating our impact from this, we invest in climate projects of equal amounts to offset the carbon we do use.
Alongside all the sustainable changes we’ve made in our day-to-day, we also like to run eco-conscious promotions. For the past few years, ‘Green Friday’ has run alongside our Black Friday event, where we’ve planted a tree for every sale we’ve made. And we’ve got lots more ideas like that, so keep your eyes peeled for the next.