Sell your phone: Phones left lying in drawers worth a staggering £3.4 billion



If you want to sell your phone to get some extra cash then go for it. New research commissioned by giffgaff reveals that the UK is failing to cash in on an estimated £3.4 billion worth of old and recyclable mobile phones. As household budgets become increasingly stretched with cost of living increases across the board, this represents a financial win for the nation’s pockets, and for the environment too.

  • New research from mobile network giffgaff finds 45% of the UK population has a backup mobile phone they rarely use
  • Owners could get an average of over £100 for each phone they recycle – but the clock is ticking – with handsets potentially halving in value in just one year
  • Recycling phones also reduces the UK’s e-waste (growing at nearly 1.5 million tonnes a year1) – benefiting not only the nation’s pockets, but the planet too

Today’s research suggests that almost half (45%) of the UK – nearly 30 million people – keep old and working mobile phones, despite using a brand new model day-to-day. Over two thirds (67%) haven’t used their old handset in the past year and 1 in 5 (19%) say they’ve used their previous device just once. So we are urging our readers at MoneyMagpie to check those drawers.

Whilst the reasons for holding onto old devices are varied – ranging from people wanting an emergency backup device (32%) to fears over losing personal data (22%) and even some citing emotional attachment (12%) – individuals could be sitting on some unclaimed cash as the average giffgaff trade-in value of a recyclable used handset is £111.4 With over 13 million of us hoarding our old mobiles for more than 12 months, people may be shocked to know that the price they could’ve received for the unused handset may have halved5 in that time. This means that millions across the country could be missing out on their share of an estimated £3.4 billion.

The Environmental and cost Factor

Alongside the financial hit, not recycling an old mobile phone will contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. The World Economic Forum estimates that just 20% of global e-waste is recycled, while the other 80% ends up in landfill or incinerated.


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