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Virgin Media’s recycling promise gets zero marks

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Last year I upgraded my Virgin Media TV package, and, as result, ended up with two set-top boxes I needed to dispose of.

One, sent in error, was new and unused. Despite my repeated attempts, Virgin refuses to take them back. Its website advises customers to take boxes to a local recycling facility, but my local council is not listed as one that accepts this kind of waste.

When I eventually got to speak to a real person, he advised me to stick them on Facebook Marketplace and, failing that, just put them in the bin.

This cannot be acceptable in 2021. Virgin appears to be abdicating its responsibility in terms of end-of-life disposal of this e-waste.

SF, by email

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In May, Virgin Media claimed it had achieved zero waste to landfill operations for the first time, but your letter suggests that it has more to do in this area.

Large numbers of set-top boxes and routers are stacking up in people’s homes. It is particularly concerning that the company did not seem to want the new, unused box back.

It has told me that you had been given the wrong information and has since apologised and collected the items.

Virgin Media says it has committed to net-zero-carbon and zero-waste operations by the end of 2025. “In 2020, we refurbished and reused 1.3m items, including set-top boxes. Customers can return equipment using our prepaid service which is available on our website, and we will reuse items where possible,” it says.

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“For products that cannot be reused, we encourage customers to recycle them using local facilities, which can also be found on our website.”

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