New research from O2 Recycle 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.

How much are we losing?

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

Instead, the findings reveal that 50% of people are missing out by binning them, giving them away or taking them to the tip rather than recycling them.

Why aren’t we cashing in?

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

  • Almost a third (31%) are not aware that the services exist
  • One on six (16%) 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

Brit’s appetite for the latest technology is highlighted by the fact that 58% 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. 

Worst wasters by city

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 worth of recyclable gadgets thrown away each year
  3. Birmingham  – £120million worth of recyclable gadgets thrown away each year
  4. Leeds – £100million worth of recyclable gadgets thrown away each year
  5. Newcastle – £73million worth of recyclable gadgets thrown away each year

What do we say about this:

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 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. 

A fun way to get involved:

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 7th October, to find out more about being part of the record breaking attempt, pocket some cash and give back through Think Big, visit

If you have any feedback on recycling experience please tweet about it with #O2recycle!

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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