Recycling reluctance costing Brits £762 million each year

September 30th, 2011 by O2

Ignorance and apathy prevents UK gadget lovers from cashing in.

New research from O2 reveals Brits lose out on a staggering £762million each year by failing to cash in on their old tech goods, including mobile phones, MP3 players, sat navs, games consoles and digital cameras.

With more than 17.5 million of these gadgets thrown out each year – or one for every three UK adults – the research highlights the potential money making opportunities available to British consumers. Despite potentially earning an estimated £85 for each of these gadgets recycled, just 16 percent of British consumers do so.

Instead, the findings reveal that half of the people are missing out by binning them, giving them away or taking them to the tip rather than recycling them.

The research points to a number of reasons for Brits recycling reluctance, including:

  • Almost a third (31%) who are not aware that services exist
  • One on six (16%) who think that recycling is not worth it
  • Almost one in ten (9%) can’t be bothered
  • Just 5% of people know they could actually gain between £51 and £100 from each gadget

British appetite for the latest technology is highlighted by the fact that 58 percent replace their phones for a newer, more up-to-date version less than once every two years. This suggests significant numbers of people could see regular returns from services such as O2 Recycle.

Recycling reluctance also varies significantly across the country, with the following places standing to benefit the most from recycling their old gadgets:

1. London – £437million worth of recyclable gadgets thrown away each year

2. Manchester – £133million

3. Birmingham – £120million

4. Leeds – £100million

5. Newcastle – £73million

Chris Gamlin, marketing manager at O2 Recycle, says; “Millions of people are missing out on huge sums of money due to their recycling reluctance. Anyone using O2 Recycle can take advantage of its price match guarantee which ensures consumers get the best price possible for the electronic item they recycle.

“In addition to benefitting from cash in their pockets, O2 Recycle customers are also helping the environment and supporting a number of good causes. O2 Recycle is a not-for-profit initiative with any money made donated to O2’s Think Big initiative which enables young people around the country to have a positive impact in their communities.

In October, O2 Recycle will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most mobile phones recycled in one week.

The recycleathon will start on 7 October 2011, to find out how more about being part of the record breaking attempt, pocket some cash and give back through Think Big, visit the O2 website.


  1. No Comments

Have your say