James Rigg is CEO of Trojan Electronics in Wales, and has a wealth of expertise in value-adding circular solutions for electrical and electronics manufacturers and retailers. James has built on his experience across retail and more recently, leading growth across the Buy It Direct Group, and is now focussed on expanding Trojan Electronics Circular Solutions to help retailers and manufacturers recover value and at the same time, reduce e-waste. Trojan provides services to high-profile brands, and we’ll hear about some examples.
E-waste – the waste from end-of-life or unwanted electricals and electronics – is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, and is forecast to grow by 30% over this decade.
The Trojan Electronics team provides electrical repair, refurb and resell services in several ways – through their client’s own marketplace stores, through direct integration into the clients’ ecommerce stores, and through Amazon, eBay, Tik Tok, Wowcher and others.
Trojan is a £20M turnover business based in Swansea, south Wales, employing 150 staff in a purpose-built warehouse housing repairs and all its other services, and refurbishing over half a million items each year.
Ahead of our conversation, James sent me some customer research, digging into people’s attitudes to refurbished products, with some very encouraging findings, and we’ll hear more about that in the conversation. I can share a few of the standout figures now: over a third of the respondents had bought a refurbished or repaired electrical item in the previous 12 months, including smartphones, laptops or tablets, and household appliances. Only 1% of those people had a bad experience with that purchase, and almost 80% said they’d buy refurbished in the future. And even though people knew they’d bought a refurbished item, 24% of customers couldn’t tell the difference from the equivalent new product.
The survey includes some market research, highlighting predictions for the growth of refurbished electronics – the market was valued at around $85bn in 2021 and is forecast to grow at 12% each year over the next decade. James is happy to share the research, and I’ve included a link to the research paper in the shownotes.
James also shared information from Trojan’s clients who are offering refurbished products alongside new versions, and the results are very exciting.
However, at some clients, attitudes are slow to change, with people reluctant to make the transition to selling refurbished products as well as new versions, and James explains some of the reasons behind this.
International speaker, author and strategic advisor, Catherine Weetman helps people discover why circular, regenerative and fair solutions are better for people, planet – and prosperity.
Catherine’s award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started.
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Links we mention in the episode:
- Circular Economy Podcast on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/showcase/circular-economy-podcast/
- Circular Economy Podcast website: circulareconomypodcast.com
- Catherine Weetman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-weetman-9419107/
- A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business – buy from any good bookseller, or direct from the publisher Kogan Page, which ships worldwide (free shipping to UK and US) https://www.koganpage.com/CircEcon2
- Interactive podcast index https://www.rethinkglobal.info/circular-economy-podcast-index/
- Rethink Global www.rethinkglobal.info
- Sign up to get the podcast player and shownotes for each new episode emailed to your inbox
Links for our guest:
- Trojan Electronics website: https://trojanelectronics.co.uk/
- Trojan’s research report – The Rise of Refurbished Electronics: exploring consumer attitudes: https://clear-ewaste.co.uk/research
- CLEAR website: https://clear-ewaste.co.uk/
- James is also on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-rigg-a0418823b/
- Trojan Electronics on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/trojan-electronics-limited/
Books, people and organisations we mentioned
Repair skills and a campaign for accreditation for skilled and experienced repairers – have a listen to Fiona Dear of The Restart Project in Episode 112: https://www.rethinkglobal.info/112-fiona-dear-reviving-repair-and-reuse-for-our-tech/
Riversimple – local cars and ‘as a service’ business models: https://riversimple.com/
Tom Szaky of Loop and Terracycle – Episode 73: https://www.rethinkglobal.info/73-tom-szaky-loop-the-convenience-of-prefill/
London Library of Things: https://www.libraryofthings.co.uk/
Playlist: getting started with the circular economy…
Want to know more about the what the circular economy really is, and how it can help your business? Here’s a playlist to help you get to grips with the concept, how it creates value, and the common myths (spoiler alert – it’s much more than recycling!)
- #1 What is the circular economy: A quick intro to explain what the circular economy is and why it’s important. We explore how it helps create better products and services, and at the same time helps to make a better world. I break it down into my 5 circular economy components, helping you think about each part of your business.
- #2 The linear economy and your risk checklist: We dig a bit deeper into the way we do business now, the linear economy, and why that’s creating problems for business, society and our living planet. Also, we’ll look at the risks that emerge from those big-picture issues, and how they might affect your organisation.
- #90 Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Catherine Weetman is worried that companies are using circular economy solutions to grow their business (and their footprints).
- #101 Circular is better for people, planet and profit! How three simple strategies can help you get started with circular and regenerative solutions that are better for people, planet and profit
And here’s Catherine’s guide: What is the circular economy?
Want to dig deeper?
Why not buy Catherine’s award-winning book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy. Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable.
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Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’. Or, follow them on Twitter.