WHSmith rolls out book buy-back programme at high street stores

Customers can partake in the new scheme, effective immediately, by registering online at www.whsmith.co.uk/whsbookcycle. This platform enables them to seamlessly trade in their second-hand books in exchange for eGift cards, redeemable at WHSmith for their next purchase.

The scheme has been launched in partnership with Zeercle, a solution provider in the used books industry.

WHSmith’s group commercial development director Ian Sanders said: “This is a very exciting new scheme for WHSmith, and it makes great sense for our customers and our business to support a circular economy for books, as we aim to minimise our impact on the environment and support our local communities.

“The buy-back scheme really does offer a compelling reason for customers to recycle their second-hand books, and being able to exchange these for WHSmith eGift cards gives them another great reason to shop with us.”

Customers follow online registration and book scanning on the website, then have their books assessed by Zeercle’s technology.

This evaluation considers factors such as the book’s condition, its popularity, and its demand in the market.

Subsequently, participants can drop off their books at any participating WHSmith High Street store, receiving an eGift card equivalent to the trade-in value. This credit can be used both in-store and online.

Zeercle facilitates the redistribution of the majority of the used books through its resale channels. These channels provide access to second-hand books at reduced prices.

According to the solution provider, any books deemed unsuitable for resale undergo responsible recycling, thus mitigating their environmental impact.

Sustainable sourcing and net-zero target

In its efforts to mitigate its influence on forest resources, WHSmith adheres to the two primary international benchmarks established by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) for certification.

Furthermore, WHSmith has established a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and its short-term emissions objectives have received validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with 1.5C.

The retailer is aiming to reduce absolute Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions by 80% between 2020 and 2030. It is also committed to ensuring that 75% of its suppliers of goods and services, in terms of emissions, have set their own SBTi targets by 2027.

Decathlon’s take-back bike scheme

In related business circularity news, sports retailer Decathlon recently launched a ‘BuyBack’ service, giving customers at 44 of its UK stores the option of selling back their used bikes, ready for reuse by someone else.

The service enables customers to ‘upcycle their bicycle’ by reselling their old bikes back to Decathlon for up to 45% of the RRP in store credit.

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