With new research revealing there are around 18 million* unused consoles stashed in cupboards and drawers across the UK, Virgin Media O2 is giving Brits a ‘power-up’ so they can trade in their unwanted devices for cash and prevent electronic waste (e-waste).

O2 Recycle has expanded to include popular gaming systems from PlayStation, Xbox, Oculus and Nintendo.

People can send their unwanted tech to O2 Recycle for free where the device will be repaired, refurbished and resold, or recycled – with zero parts going to landfill.

Gamers can receive up to £283 for a PlayStation 5, up to £110 for a Nintendo Switch (OLED) and up to £238 for an Xbox Series X.

In addition, the initiative is now accepting MacBooks, alongside smartphones, tablets, wearables and earbuds to tackle e-waste, and to promote the circular economy where devices can be used again and again.

Helping gamers go green 

The announcement comes ahead of Global Recycling Day (Monday 18 March), as new research reveals more than half (58%) of gamers were unaware that consoles could be recycled. Eight in ten (83%) admit they’re holding onto old consoles, despite not planning to use them, and more than four in ten (42%) say they don’t use their old gaming device because it’s broken or missing a part.

The research also reveals that despite approximately 18 million consoles collecting dust across the country, gamers want to go ‘green’. Three quarters (75%) say they’d recycle their console if they were paid for it, and half (51%) would do so to help prevent e-waste and protect the planet.

Giving tech a second life 

Since its launch in 2009, O2 Recycle has recycled almost four million devices and paid out £341 million to consumers. O2 Recycle is open to anyone regardless of their mobile network and, last year, the initiative processed almost 180,000 devices which were saved from landfill, and recycled or resold as ‘like new’ products to customers.

The scheme forms part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan and its goal to encourage consumers to carry out 10 million ‘circular actions’ by the end of 2025.

The company is also helping to prevent e-waste via its Community Calling programme with environmental charity, Hubbub, where more than 17,000 smartphones have been rehomed with people who need them across the UK.

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2 said: 

“We’ve powered up O2 Recycle to cover consoles and MacBooks, making it even easier for people to trade in their unwanted tech for cash and to protect the planet by saving their device from landfill.

“With almost four million devices recycled and £340 million paid out, O2 Recycle is leading the UK’s circular economy and giving tech a second life so it can be used again and again.”

Scott Butler, Executive Director from Recycle Your Electricals, said: 

“We’ve all got that ‘drawer of doom’ stashed full of electricals, including cables, spare plugs, phones, and for some of us a stash of spare game consoles and accessories. Now’s the time to cash in your old electricals. Our research found that households could make anything from £1,300 to £6k by selling their unwanted electricals. This great initiative by O2 Recycle will make it easier for all those gaming consoles to be either sold or recycled.”

Console image photo credit: GooGag/Shutterstock.com

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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