Bank between £1,300 and £6,330 by re-selling your unused tech

Half a months’ average UK salary sat in cupboards ready to be cashed in – Households could bank a windfall between £1,300 and £6,330 by reselling unused tech

  • There are currently 880 million unused working electrical items gathering dust in the UK – 31 per household on average.
  • “Incredible untapped opportunity to earn extra cash equivalent to over half a months’ average UK salary.”
  • Unwanted items could be worth between £1,304 and £6,331 if sold through re-selling sites such as Gumtree and eBay.
  • Now is the perfect time to sell your unused electricals, or unwanted electrical Christmas gifts, to help your wallet beat the cash blues.
  • 1-in-5 adults hold onto unused electricals because they’re worried about deleting and transferring data properly.
  • Between £36.7b and £178.5b worth of unwanted electricals gathering dust in UK homes.

New research from the Recycle Your Electricals campaign shines a light on the hidden cash value in unused tech across the UK.

The research has revealed that households could earn between £1,304 and £6,331 by selling unwanted electrical items through re-selling platforms such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Across all UK households there could be as much as £36.7 billion for older, lower spec and unbranded items and £178.5 billion of newer, higher spec and branded items of unwanted electricals hidden in homes across the country.

The research shows that the 880 million unused working electrical items currently gathering dust in the UK – 31 per household – could be worth upwards of £36.7bn. Buying and selling used electricals is part of a growing trend – a quarter (26%) of adults said they were open to selling these electricals and over a third (35%) open to buying. Households are holding onto multiple unused electrical items, including nearly three unused mobile phones and two unused laptops (see Table 1 in Appendix below).

To illustrate the cash value hidden in unused electricals, Recycle Your Electricals has worked with origami artist Peter Buchan-Symons to create ‘moneygami’, the art of shaping currency into art. This time using some of the UK’s most likely unused tech including: a mobile phone, laptop, games console controller, blender, smart watch and an incredible pair of wearable origami headphones.

As 51% of UK adults feel the festive pinch after Christmas, and 36% of UK households look to bridge a financial gap following their Christmas spending, many might be surprised to learn that they could earn a substantial amount by selling unwanted electricals. Depending upon the age and brand of item, those with unwanted mobile phones could expect to make between £75 and £554, and unwanted tablets could earn between £50 and £649 on re-selling sites. Even unwanted electricals such as kettles and electric toothbrushes could top up your wallet this Winter, with kettles typically selling for between £15 and £116 and electric toothbrushes, £18 and £105.

Recycle Your Electricals has also teamed up with financial expert Emmanuel Asuquo to share his top tips for saving money during the first few months of 2024.

Emmanuel says, “There’s no denying that this time of year can be a financial struggle for many, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of advice out there.

“Normally I’m helping people tighten their belts, but here you’ve got an incredible untapped opportunity to earn extra cash equivalent to over half a months’ average UK salary, for around a day of your time spent decluttering.

“I’m surprised how much money can be made! I’ve estimated I have around £2,000 worth of my own unused electrical items in my house alone – the cash is literally waiting for you in your drawers! It’s a really simple yet hugely effective way to declutter your home from items you no longer use and reap the benefits!”

However, not all UK adults are comfortable re-selling unwanted tech, with one in five adults in the UK still holding on to unused electricals because they’re concerned about how to delete and transfer the data properly. Recycle Your Electricals has enlisted the help of We Fight Fraud‘s expert Tony Sales, to update its step-by-step guide for data deletion so UK households can erase data and safely sell unwanted electricals for extra cash (see below). Recycle Your Electricals has also curated a best practice guide to selling electricals, and details on special offers, deals and discounts from high street and online retailers, to help people financially as we move through the new year and into spring cleaning season.

Scott Butler, Executive Director at Material Focus, which runs the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, says, “We’ve all got that drawer of doom or cluttered cupboard with unused electricals at home.  Your cupboard of electricals can be cashed-in. If your electricals are working, they can make you money. Just make sure that you follow our guidance to destroy any data on your devices and our tips to get the best sale price.  And if they are broken, don’t forget – anything with a plug, cable or battery should never be binned and should always be reused or recycled!”

Selling unwanted electricals is not just great for the bank balance, it has huge benefits for the planet too. Waste electricals are the fastest growing e-waste stream, with many not realising that they contain some of the most precious materials on the planet, like gold, aluminium and lithium. So whether people have working items and choose to sell or donate them, or have broken items that they recycle, it’s a huge positive. Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. Visit Recycle Your Electricals’ Recycling Locator to find your nearest recycling centre.

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