Millions of unwanted cell phones, DVD players and TVs live in British homes – the owners just couldn’t get them sorted

A study of 2,000 adults found that properties across the country served as storage centers for old tech items, because owners were unable to sort through their belongings.


A study of 2,000 adults found that properties across the country served as storage centers for old tech items, because owners were unable to sort through their belongings.

Of those surveyed, 39 percent currently have unused electrical items in their homes, including 3.5 million discarded iPods, nearly 4.7 million unused headphones and 4.6 million VCR players.

Reasons for holding on to old technology include keeping it as a spare in case the current item breaks (17 percent), hoping they can fix it (11 percent) and not knowing how to get rid of it (9 percent).

The research was commissioned by Virgin Media O2, who have teamed up with environmental charity, Hubbub, to launch a Time After Time e-waste fund for groups and community organizations to run projects that tackle e-waste and promote circulation.

It also revealed that the most unused items are mobile phones (23 percent), DVD players (16 percent) and televisions (13 percent).

Items that are outdated (15 percent), no longer needed (14 percent) and broken or defective (12 percent) are among the reasons for not using electrical appliances.

But these tools are usually kept for six years, and are kept in closets (30 percent), attics (25 percent) and garages (22 percent).

Despite this, 31 percent claim to be concerned about the impact of e-waste on the planet, but 25 percent do not know where the nearest e-recycling point is.

Nicola Green, of Virgin Media O2, said: “It’s amazing how many old, unused and outdated devices like phones, VCR players and USB sticks are gathering dust in drawers, lofts and garages across the country.

“We know that people are worried about their old technology ending up in landfill and the impact on the planet.

“That’s why we launched the £500,000 Time After Time Fund with Hubbub to fund environmental projects that tackle e-waste and help old devices get used again and again.”

E-waste is a pressing environmental issue

The study also found that 51 percent of adults do not think enough is being done to address the problem of e-waste, while 21 percent feel guilty for not recycling old, unused electrical items.

Nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) took an old or unused appliance to a tip, and 32 per cent disposed of household rubbish.

While 28 percent plan to donate goods to charity and 24 percent hope to sell them when they go to sort through unused electrical items.

But more than half (53 percent) still have personal data on unused electrical appliances, including photos (52 percent), emails (40 percent), and work-related documents (26 percent).

And 44 percent don’t know how to clear this data from items they no longer use.

As a result, 34% worry that their personal information will be stolen or shared if they want to recycle a device.

It also emerged that, via OnePoll, those surveyed would be more encouraged to recycle technology if it was easier (46 per cent), they knew where to take them (43 per cent) and if they could do so from their own home (30 per cent). cent).

While 73 percent help the local community group by recycling old electrical items if they can.

But 56 percent said there is not enough information widely available on how to dispose of e-waste ethically.

Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub, said: “E-waste is a pressing environmental issue and we encourage organizations to apply for this funding with projects that remove barriers and help people extend the life of their old electrical appliances by repairing, passing it on or recycling it.

Organizations can apply for grants ranging from £10,000 to £75,000.

“We urge people to get the word out about this funding, which could have a huge impact.

“If you know of a charity, social enterprise, local authority or community organization running e-waste initiatives, point them in our direction to apply for this financial support.”

Top 20 unused electrical items in UK homes

  1. Mobile phones – 14701968
  2. DVD players – 7114752
  3. Televisions – 6,142,032
  4. USB stick – 5,641,776
  5. Radios – 4,724,640
  6. Headphones – 4,669,056
  7. Printers – 4,585,680
  8. VCR players – 4,585,680
  9. Laptop – 4,446,720
  10. Microwaves – 4,446,720
  11. iPod – 3,501,792
  12. cameras – 3,335,040
  13. Stereo players – 3112704
  14. Landline phone – 3112704
  15. Tablet / iPad – 2918,160
  16. Computer keyboards – 2834784
  17. Portable Cassette Player/CD Player – 2,723,616
  18. computer mouse – 2779200
  19. Brooms – 2,501,280
  20. Computer monitors – 1945440