Buy your electronic goods cheaper

... and create jobs in France

28 August 2019
By Connexion journalist

You can make savings on electronic home goods by buying them from non-profit-making organisation Envie.

It sells reconditioned products, from hairdryers and toasters to fridges and washing machines, as well as digital, video and sound equipment.

Items sell at between 40% and 60% below the recommended market price for the equivalent new product. 

It does not mean you cannot sometimes find cheaper, as Envie is in competition with hard discount sites, but you will be supporting a project which is ethical and ecological.

Envie’s primary aim is to create employment.

Out of 3,000 employees, 2,250 at any one time are in training for up to a maximum of two years, because they are finding it difficult to get employment.

On leaving, 68% are successful in finding a job or a further training course.

The first unit was set up in Strasbourg in 1984 by people who had been working with the charity Emmaüs.

They wanted to find a way of bringing people in difficulty back into the workplace.

Their second aim was to give old white goods a second life and to dismantle machines for recycling. On average, three machines are used to renovate one new one. What is left is sorted for recycling.

In 2017, 107,000 machines were reconditioned and put back into use in homes.

General Manager Jean François Hummel (pictured) told Connexion that since 2006, electronic goods producers have had to organise the collection and treatment of their waste.

Envie treats a third of that material produced in France.

It has had an agreement since 1984 with Darty.

He said: “If they have taken your old fridge away on delivery of a new one, it may well have ended up in our workshops.

“Every year we recuperate 150,000 tonnes of material and renovate 96,000 electrical appliances to sell back to the public.”

Mr Hummel said every machine is examined closely before deciding whether to repair it.

After reconditioning, each part is tested, it is cleaned thoroughly and put on sale. 

“For all secondhand equipment, the government imposes a minimum six-month guarantee and we add on a further six months,” he said.

Envie sells directly from its shops.

It does not sell online, but prospective buyers can see what is in stock on the website (envie.org).

Some offer services including delivery, taking away old machines for free, after-sales, repairs and hiring equipment.

For 2020, Envie is working on projects to recondition medical equipment, including electrically-operated beds and wheelchairs, which are often too expensive for individuals, even with social security grants.

It is also looking into the market for secondhand parts.

“This would mean cheaper repairs for people and less waste,” said Mr Hummel.

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