How you can recycle your unused tech gadgets for free

In every home, there is a place that we store things that we no longer need or use. It’s something that once gave us joy, albeit at an initial cost, and for this reason we seem unable to throw it away even though we no longer have a use for it. The main culprit? Old tech gadgets. 

Whether it’s at my home, my parent’s house, or the family holiday house, there is always a drawer where old phones, cables, music players, and earphones are stored away and forgotten about. At one time or another, I had a personal attachment to these gadgets and for some reason every time I look at them, I relive those old moments all over again which stops me from being able to let go. 

Unused technology stats

It is estimated that there are 40 million unused gadgets of any kind in UK homes. The findings of a study on UK households from the Royal Society of Chemistry is particularly insightful: 51% have at least one unused electronic device at home, 69% intend to store them as spare and 37% claim they do not feel to recycle them due to worries about data and security. 

Whatever the reason we keep our tech, there is a problem that will become more and more relevant in the coming years and it is associated with the materials used in the production of our electronics. Many elements could run out in the next 100 years and it is paramount to find ways to preserve them. On the other hand, some might argue that it’s worth considering selling them to get some extra cash in our pocket. The biggest factor, however, is undoubtedly making sure that there are more socially responsible companies that focus on building these gadgets to last as opposed to just constantly bringing out new versions in an attempt to increase revenue.

Our recyclable tech options

In this modern age where technology is ever-evolving, it’s no surprise that we are constantly tempted with upgrading our phones to the latest version even though we don’t really need to. Why do we do this? This feels like an ethical question more than anything – unless our phone is broken or at limited use, we can definitely make do and keep it longer instead of being part of the wasteful technology that is quickly becoming as detrimental as “fast fashion”. Keeping a phone longer may require us to do a little bit extra on our side like learning how to use it to the best of its ability by ensuring to close all apps to save energy and therefore making sure our pocket friend performs better and lasts longer.

Recyclable tech charities

However, if you are unable to resist the latest upgrade for your phone or a new computer, consider giving a second life to the old one by passing it onto a relative or donating it to a charity. In this second case, there are some interesting options like ComputerAid, which takes your old laptop to other countries to support access to technology, or WeeeCharity, which recycles unwanted electrical equipment to raise funds to relieve poverty across the UK.

Another option to empty space at home with unwanted tech items is to recycle them. You can recycle almost any tech including laptops, mobile phones and other electrical goods by simply visiting RecycleNow and finding your nearest local centre or schedule an home collection.

Selling tech items online

Finally, if you don’t feel like giving away your tech items for free, you can consider selling them on the high street via shops like CEX or online. In the former case, there are plenty of options and you will only need to find a local shop to sell it to. Online options vary starting from eBay, where you can decide at what price bids should start, to the likes of Mazuma and MusicMagpie that will tell you in advance what they will pay you for your electronic gadget.

Whether you decide to recycle, pass on or sell, remember to factory reset your device for full protection and privacy. Most of the options suggested offer this service but it is suggested to do a first clearance at home with all necessary back up.

Now that I’ve told you the options, it’s my turn. I’ll have to decide what to do with a laptop, a tablet and 2 mobile phones I have that I’m no longer using. If I can let go of them, you can with yours too!

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