Tech gadgets with a UK recycling value of £1.5 billion lost each year

December 8th, 2011 by O2

Research from O2 Recycle in the UK reveals over 6.2 million British people lose at least one tech gadget, including mobile phones, MP3 players, sat navs and laptops every year.

Nationwide losing a mobile phone is a common occurrence (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

With 17.5 million gadgets mislaid around the home or in public places, the UK is sitting on a potential cash bounty of £1.5 billion if every item lost was reclaimed and recycled instead.

Whilst 29% have no idea where they lost their gadget, the findings show that the British are literally leaving cash lying around with six in ten (59%) losing their gadget in a public place and 33% saying it is somewhere in their home.

Millions of consumers are counting the cost as half of those surveyed (49%) never find their lost gadgets and only 6% claim for them on insurance. With almost a third (31%) making no attempt to look for them either, O2 Recycle is urging people to reclaim their once lost item and cash-in an average of £85 per gadget recycled. Top loss locations include:

  • Bars and clubs – £85 million worth of gadgets
  • Taxis – £43.5 million
  • Parks – £44 million
  • Shops – £39.5 million
  • Trains – £22.5 million

Mobile phones top the list of gadgets most likely to be mislaid with a staggering 5.2 million lost each year. Others in the top lost list are:

  • MP3 players – 2.7 million lost each year
  • Digital cameras – 2.5 million lost each year
  • Mobile phone accessories – 2.5 million lost each year
  • Games consoles –1.7 million lost each year
  • Sat navs – 1.7 million lost each year

Unsurprisingly, boozy Brits are the most careless – with 1 in 5 (16%) losing a gadget in a pub, bar or club – the most of any location.

The research also points to a north vs. south drinking divide as a quarter of northerners (24%) lose their gadget on a night out compared to just 14% of southerners. However, Scots are the most careful with only 5% losing their gadget while out on the town.

Chris Gamlin, O2 Recycle, said; “Our research shows that people are literally leaving money lying around. By reclaiming any old lost items and recycling them they’re set to make a healthy return. At O2 Recycle we recycle a range of gadgets, including mobile phones, MP3 players, sat navs, laptops and even desktop computers in return for cash and the price match guarantee ensures the best price possible is given. On average, £85 cash can be recouped per item so it’s well worth the effort – especially in the run up to Christmas.

“In addition to the cash benefit, 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 programme which enables young people around the country to have a positive impact in their communities.”


Guernsey has approximately one thousandth of the population of the United Kingdom but hopefully the island population doesn’t experience one thousandth of the tech gadget property losses attributed to the UK population.


1 Response to “Tech gadgets with a UK recycling value of £1.5 billion lost each year”

  1. Mobile Phone Recycling UK

    I hope people will be more careful with their costly gadgets.

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