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Phone recycler’s awards triumph

United Kingdom – Scottish mobile phone recycling specialist Redeem has scooped the UK small company of the year accolade at the Business in the Community (BITC) annual awards for excellence. The award was presented in London by BITC President Prince Charles.

Staged in association with the Institute of Directors, the society impact award was open to small and medium-sized independent trading organisations employing up to 250 people and with no parent company.

Falkirk-based Redeem is an active associate member of BITC’s sister charity Scottish Business in the Community. It started out recycling ink-jet devices and mobile phones in a potato barn in 1999, and its name reflects its work with the Scottish Prison Service to offer employment to former convicts. In the past year, it has won multi-million pound contracts with three major retailers to recycle goods in exchange for loyalty rewards or vouchers, and has developed strategic partnerships with nine leading charities across the UK, bringing its total charity partnerships to more than 200.

Redeem employs 70 people across operations in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Turkey, and earlier this year opened a centre in Hong Kong – a world hub for the refurbishment and resale of mobile phones – to target emerging mobile phone markets including China, India, Africa and South America.

In January, Redeem said turnover was on course to rise from £5.6 million (US$ 9.1 million) to £9 million (US$ 14.7 million), but it now expects to achieve £12 million (US$ 19.6 million) this year. Its business model generates strong revenue streams to charities, schools and community groups while minimising landfilling.

Redeem has generated more than £4 million (US$ 6.5 million) for good causes, diverted more than 134 000 tonnes of material from landfill, planted 112 000 trees, and provided more than a million mobile phones to developing countries. It has also supplied educational programmes to 6000 schools, raising more than £100 000 (US$ 163 000) last year.

Matt Rudling of EDF Energy Networks, Chair of the BITC awards judging panel, says: ‘Redeem runs a truly impressive business giving waste products a new lease of life to reduce negative environmental impact and simultaneously provide benefit to third world countries, enabling people to develop initiatives and networks previously unavailable.’

And Jamie Rae, Chief Executive of Redeem, comments: ‘This is an excellent endorsement of our company and highlights our on-going efforts to place corporate and social responsibility at the heart of our business.’

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