Press pause on impulse buying and be SMART this Black Friday

15th November 2017

As retailers and shoppers gear up for another highly-charged Black Friday, the sustainability organisation, WRAP, is helping consumers buy just what they need, first time, with their SMART guide to buying electricals.

Their advice is simple: plan ahead, keep calm, buy smarter, and keep the environment in mind.  You’ll probably save yourself some extra cash along the way too.

Each year the UK buys 2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic products (EEE), and generates around 1.5 million tonnes of waste EEE (WEEE).  With an anticipated surge in sales of electrical goods on Black Friday, shoppers can avoid getting carried along with the crowds, buy what they need and get the most out of their electrical goods, while reducing their environmental impact too, by remembering WRAP’s handy acronym:-

S    Shortlist 
M    Make a decision
A    Act 
R    Register
T    Trade-in
Here’s WRAP’s guide explained:-

Shortlist.  Spend time researching and working out where to be (in store or online), and when, to get the deal you want.  Consider also whether each product on your list is fit for purpose; is it compatible with your existing technology, is it going to fit where you want it to go?  This should help your decision-making so you can buy, and use the product that is right for you.

Make a decision before you go out to target a purchase, and try to think about the lifetime of your selected product and its true value for money.  Some products are designed to reduce their overall environmental impact.  These products are usually more than just energy efficient - they're designed to last longer, or be cleaned, repaired, upgraded or recycled more easily.  You can find out more in our Buying Better Products guide at

Act! (But calmly) Stick to your plan to get the bargains you want, rather than impulse buying something you haven’t researched (and probably don’t need).  Make sure you don’t go in for a toaster and come out with a television.  Also with some retailers extending their Black Friday sales this year, you may have more time than you think to make your final decision.

Register your appliance when you get home as a safety precaution.  In a small number of cases, manufacturers may identify problems with an appliance once the product has been in use for some time.  Normally a quick in-home fix by a qualified technician will banish any risk, but it can be difficult to trace customers as they do not often provide contact details when they buy a product.  Registering is made easy at  and registering with the manufacturer may also save you money by entitling you to an extended warranty or guarantee period.

Trade-in old products that you’re replacing to save some extra money. Did you know that Argos offer a Gadget Trade-in scheme where you can trade-in second hand tablets and mobiles in return for credit off future purchases? Our research shows UK householders have around £1 billion worth of electrical and electronic equipment in their homes which they no longer use – items you could sell to high street shops, sell online, or donate to a charity shop.

(Or, if it doesn’t work recycle it).  Of around 1.5 million tonnes of electricals discarded in the UK each year, around a quarter ends up in the residual waste bin.  But if your electrical item no longer works, there’s no need to bin it!   Just take a look at our local Recycling Locator at to see where you can recycle your old products.

Malcolm Waddell, Delivery Manager, Electricals and Circular Business Models at WRAP, said: “We’re working closely with leading electrical manufacturers and retailers to transform the industry and generate value through sustainability.  But there’s a lot we can do as consumers too, to ensure we are switched on to value and getting the most out of our electrical items, which includes buying only those we will use.

“SMART buying is all about buying better, sensibly, and sustainably.  Keeping a cool head, and our guide in mind, before you even step inside a store, or enter an online shop on Black Friday, should help you make the right buying decisions. But don’t forget to enjoy your new product!  Take time to set it up properly and maintain it to get the best out of your purchase.  And understand your rights for return. Although we hope that if you’ve done your research and been smart about your purchase, you’ll be happy with your product and avoid having to return it.”

So if you’re hoping to snap up some bargain electrical or electronic items in the Black Friday sales, remember WRAP’s advice and be SMART about it.

To find out more about WRAP visit


Notes to editors:

New research from WRAP - Switched on to Value: Powering Business Change (published July 2017) -  estimates that £1.5bn worth of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) products are returned to retailers each year in the UK alone, although the figure could be as high as £3bn. These figures are based on data from members of WRAP’s Electrical and Electronic Equipment Sustainability Action Plan (esap) who have identified typical EEE return rates in the range of 5-10%.

About WRAP:
WRAP is not-for-profit, working with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which resources are sourced and used sustainably resources sustainably. Its experts generate the evidence-based solutions needed to protect the environment, build stronger economies and support more sustainable societies. Its impact spans the entire life-cycle of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the products we buy, from production to consumption and beyond. @WRAP_UK

About esap 2025:
Since its inception in 2014 esap has built the evidence base for change. The action plan is now evolving into esap 2025, where targets (informed by today’s report) will be set with industry to further drive action.  esap 2025, provides a unique space for collaboration, innovation and action across the industry. Members benefit from access to exclusive research and targeted networking opportunities, and with WRAP’s support can deliver effective and measureable actions that benefit their business and the environment. For more information about esap 2025 see