At Best Buy, we aspire to drive forward the circular economy by maximizing the value of the resources in consumer electronics. We do this by reducing product damage prior to customer use, extending the useful life of products through our repair and trade-in programs, and recycling to the highest-value commodity at a product’s end of life.
Best Buy has been collecting consumers’ used electronics since 2009 through our in-store recycling program. The program is both solving a customer need and keeping potentially harmful materials out of landfills. We have collected more than 1.7 billion pounds of electronics and appliances, and we are on track to meet our goal of collecting 2 billion pounds by 2020. However, we still wanted to innovate and move the industry forward.
When we began brainstorming with HP about the idea of creating a printer using plastic from our recycling program—creating a closed loop—we knew it would be a challenge. It took several years for both companies to bring the strategic vision to life by building the process and developing the new products.
In the end, we made history. Plastic from old printers and other electronics that our customers recycle at Best Buy is separated, shredded, melted, and put directly back into the manufacturing of three new HP printers. The HP ENVY Photo 6200, 7100, and 7800 are the world’s first in-class printers made from recycled printers and other electronics—more than 10% by weight. This was a very exciting partnership for both companies, built on sustainability, and we subsequently rolled out an external communication plan aimed at educating consumers about the benefits of the circular economy.
Our communications strategy, developed in concert with HP, centered around a video aimed at translating the concept of closed-loop recycling. We chose to produce a video as an engaging way to reach a wide variety of audiences from consumers to sustainability experts.
- Employee training: As our customers’ trusted advisors, it is essential for our store employees to be able to speak about the use of closed-loop plastic in the new HP printers. Further, we wanted our employees to be knowledgeable about our contribution to the circular economy and to feel proud of our commitment to sustainability. We embedded the video within an e-learning created especially for this project on our award-winning training platform, The Learning Network.
- Consumer website: BestBuy.com is an important tool for our customers not only for purchasing products but also for conducting research. We added information on the closed-loop plastic on the product pages, in addition to placing the new video on our page dedicated to recycling (BestBuy.com/Recycling).
- Corporate news site: Our external news site is where we keep news media, customers, and other stakeholders informed about company news, new products, and human interest stories. We posted a blog in September to support the product launch of the HP ENVY Photo 6200, 7100, and 7800 printers, and again in April to introduce the closed-loop video.
- Social media: Since videos are highly effective in the social media space, we utilized Twitter to share the closed-loop video through our public relations handle, @BBYNews, and our corporate responsibility-focused handle, @BestBuyCSR. The video was also shared from HP’s handle, @HPSustainable.
The idea of the circular economy will only grow and continue to become more mainstream, and we know there is a big opportunity to educate consumers about how Best Buy plays a role. We plan to increase our circular economy messaging in order to educate consumers, starting with a new blog series focusing on aspects of the circular economy.