Gadgets to Garbage: 75% of Adults Don’t Know How To Recycle Their Old Tech 29/04/24

by Holly, Team Mozillion

Pile of phones and tablets

Did you know you can fix, sell or recycle all your electronic gadgets?


Electrical devices come in a multitude of forms and many can be low cost these days – well, lower than they used to be – £1 fairy lights, £5 Bluetooth speakers and mobile phones from around £15. Rather than getting them fixed when they break, we can be inclined to just bin the old to make room for the new.

In fact, a new report from the UN has reported that e-waste is actually on the rise with electronic devices being binned at five times the rate of being recycled. While there is obvious pressure on manufacturers to increase their use of recycled materials and longevity in the products they produce, we can also play a part as consumers in making sure our electronics don’t end up in landfill.

And with 75% of adults without a proper plan for recycling their tech, according to a recent CNET study, it’s clear many people need to know what their options are.

Why should I bother recycling or reselling old electricals?

After years of rinsing out pasta jars, taking bottles to the bottle bank and flattening cardboard, you would be well within your rights to roll your eyes and wonder whether this is just another boring household job to add to the list. Aside from the fact that you could make a few bob for a charity or yourself, have a quick look at the below as you may feel that it is worth it in the long run – aside from the fact that no-one wants their old, broken, rusted chest freezer out the front of the house for more than 10 seconds.

Benefits of recycling or reselling electricals

  • You will feel good
  • Your black bin won’t fill up so fast
  • You are genuinely making a difference to the health of local rivers, forests and baby badgers
  • You can include the drop off or posting as part your general trip to the shops
  • The precious metals get salvaged and reused, saving more being mined
  • It creates jobs
  • It cleans up our air by reducing CO2
  • You can help a charity or good cause
  • You can make yourself some cash
  • We are generally a nation of kind, caring, David Attenborough-loving legends that want to make a difference where we can

If the device isn’t broken but you just want to upgrade and make some money

This is standard and one of the main reasons we replace our mobile phones and cars as often as we do – we want something that is faster, bigger, more powerful, more efficient or more fun.

For smartphones, there are many companies that will allow you to ‘trade in’ your old device towards either a new one or offer you cash. Be wary of these options as they will undoubtedly offer you far less than your phone is actually worth, plus you may have to buy a new device as part of the deal.

You can sell your old device privately on a site like eBay, Facebook, or if it’s a phone, you can sell it on Mozillion instantly. The benefit of selling on marketplaces is that you’re usually selling to a private buyer, so unlike trading in, you’ll get the full value that your product is actually worth.

Sell a phone on Facebook or eBay and it’ll be down to you to deal with the buyer. Sell it on Mozillion and it’s anonymous so you don’t have to hand your personal details out to the buyer as Mozillion handle everything, including paying you.

For other electricals, if you can’t trade them in, you could make some money by selling locally on eBay or Facebook Marketplace but larger items should be sold locally or the postage and delivery charges could well exceed what you make on the item.

If the device is broken or you just want to do the right thing

If the device is broken beyond repair or you just want to dispose of the item responsibly, then the best thing you can do for your ‘black bin real-estate’, the planet, and your conscience is properly recycle it. is a super easy-to-use site for this which claims that ‘anything with a plug, battery or cable can be reused or recycled’. It is simply a matter of popping in your postcode and typing in what you need disposing of.

A top tip if using their site, be general with your wording, e.g. type ‘lights’ rather than ‘fairy lights’ – it then uses the keyword entered to locate a relevant recycling point for that category of product, which in this case is ‘Christmas lights’. You are then presented with a list of options including well known stores such as B&Q and Currys, who recycle electricals, batteries and light bulbs.

If you click on the list of what ‘electricals’ actually includes, it is huge and includes items such as chest freezers, answering machines and hedge trimmers – all of which can be recycled safely.

Donating to charity

The Air Ambulance is a great example of a charity with a dedicated department offering IT collections and data wiping for organisations and individuals that have upgraded their equipment and have old equipment to get rid of. They then use it to resell to raise vital funds while simultaneously reducing landfill.

They also take away the headache of knowing what data to wipe and how.

Oxfam is another charity that will take your old mobile phone off your hands, wipe it and use it for good. The British Heart Foundation will take larger items and some charity shops (Salvation Army) will accept them as donations to their stores (size allowing).

Repairing it yourself

There is a growing trend in people fixing electrical equipment with many manufacturers offering repair guides for their products on sites like iFixit.

The other option is to Google your local ‘Repair Cafe’. These are great fun as they are often community run and you can actually repair the item yourself under the guidance of an expert. A great place to take young people to show them that fixing things often seem a lot more difficult than they actually are in practice. You may also find that it is something that you would like to do more of, afterall, who doesn’t love the metal-melting power of a soldering iron?