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UK homes have billions of pounds worth of unwanted gadgets stashed away


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Homes around the UK are holding on to around £7 billion worth of unwanted tech, a new study conducted here at Uswitch has revealed.

All in all, an estimated 184 million out-of-date gadgets are stashed away in our cupboards, drawers and shelves.

The average UK home has seven old pieces of tech laying around, with expensive items like laptops, digital cameras and even TVs gathering dust in our homes.

In fact, our research shows that the total amount of unused laptops and digital cameras amounts to around £2billiion, and old TVs come to £900million. Old DVD players are being horaded in big numbers too, with around £133 million worth in our homes.

We even discovered that around three million people still have an old ‘brick-phone’ from the 90s that they have yet to get rid of.

Even more baffling is the amount of people who still have a VHS video player knocking around – around four million homes!

So why are we a nation of tech hoarders? Is there any need to be clinging on to all this old tech? Shouldn’t we be recycling it or at least attempting to sell it on?

Well, 39% of our survey respondents claimed they were holding on to their old gadgets in case they came in useful. Also, 19% had concerns about personal data on their devices, while 24% admitted to simply being too lazy to get rid of their old gadgets.

Interestingly, 21% of people say they don’t know how to recycle their old devices. There are plenty of ways to put new use to your old gadgets, whether it’s selling them on for a bit of extra cash or sending them off to be recycled.

Mobile phones are especially easy to move on, and with around 22 million unwanted mobiles sitting in our homes, you might even be able to make a bit of cash.

From eBay to Music Magpie, there are a host of websites where you can get quick cash for your gadgets. Unsurprisingly, iPhones get the most returns, and if you have a an old iPhone X that you don’t use anymore you could get between £220 – £285

Alternatively, you could trade in an old phone to your network to get money off a new phone, although you would get quite a bit less than if you sold it independently. For instance, that same iPhone X would get you around £162 on Three’s trade-in scheme.

Alternatively, you can also recycle your old mobile phone to make use of the valuable materials found in smartphones. Mobile phones offer huge value to recycling, it takes a lot of energy to make new phones and mining for new metals and materials has a big impact on the environment.

Ru Bhikha, telecoms expert here at Uswitch said: “Millions of us are hoarding old, unwanted tech that could be worth a small fortune to its owner, or recycled to reuse the precious metals inside.

“Mobile phones, laptops, games consoles, cameras and TVs all hold a lot of value and can be exchanged for cash with minimal effort.

“Many of us have a habit for upgrading our phone and holding onto our old one in case they become useful at a later date. They often end up collecting dust when they could benefit somebody else or help reduce the impact of waste on the environment.”

If you want to know more about recycling your household items and gadgets, check out our handy guide where you’ll find all the info you need as well as a useful tool that will let you know what you can and cannot recycle.

Read our mobile phone recycling guide

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