Dixons Carphone, the business behind Currys PC World, has launched a free recycling scheme that enables customers to return expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging to stores for recycling.

After a successful trial in 14 stores over a six-week period this summer, Currys PC World is rolling out the customer EPS drop-off service to all its UK stores.

To begin with, stores will only accept EPS associated with TV packaging, but the retailer says that it will look to collect different types of EPS packaging as consumer demand and uptake increase.

This new in-store scheme complements Currys PC World’s existing home delivery recycling service which has allowed customers to hand back their packaging to delivery drivers for over a decade.

The retailer says that it currently recycles over a tenth of all consumer product packing polystyrene in the UK and, working with a third party, turns compacted EPS into insulation panels for housing.

Dixons Carphone also recently shared its intention to make 100% of its own-label product packaging reusable or recyclable by 2023.

The retailer is working with its own-label suppliers to help develop packaging solutions without plastic or EPS. Current initiatives include the trial of switching from EPS to cardboard packaging for large domestic appliances.

Other initiatives include swapping polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic blister trays for paper trays, changing EPS for cardboard pulp, and removing single-use items such as cable ties and plug pin covers.

As a result, over the last year, the company claims to have removed 1.7m items of plastic packaging from its own brands – over 27 tonnes.

In total, since the start of the initiative in 2019, Dixons Carphone reports that it has removed nearly 3m pieces of plastic packaging. This has resulted in achievements such as a completely plastic packaging-free brand, ADX Gaming, which the company identifies as a key milestone towards its 2023 target.

In addition to these announcements, the retailer has also created and published its ‘Product Packaging Guidance’ in a bid to share best practices with the wider industry.

The guide outlines to suppliers and other retailers Dixons Carphone’s view on which materials to use and which materials to avoid. The company reviewed data from sources including the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP), the British Plastics Confederation, Government Recycling regulations, and the UK Plastic Pact.

The company’s teams also reportedly engaged with specialist experts with the aim of ensuring the guidance considers today’s recycling limitations as well as future plans for materials that are currently difficult or unable to be recycled.