British households contain more than £20 billion worth of unused technology - including old smartphones, laptops and tablets, according to research

By Richard Jenkins
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 3:39 pm

A study found the average home has tech to the tune of £813.90 lying around in drawers, cupboards and on shelves.

This equates to unused devices worth £20 billion across the 26.3million households in the country with access to connectivity.

And the average adult hasn’t had a clear out of old tech for more than three-and-a-half years, according to the poll of 2,000 adults.

While 81 per cent have a mobile phone gathering dust in a drawer that hasn’t been used in more than a year.

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    Radio host and TV presenter Roman Kemp launches Vodafone’s Reboxing Day campaign by unveiling a giant interactive Christmas present on London's Southbank. The campaign is to encourage the nation to donate their old mobiles tablets and laptops to its Great British Tech Appeal to help tackle digital poverty. Installation is open from Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th December.

    A lack of motivation when it comes to cleaning up

    The research also found a lack of motivation, not enough time and having to wipe it clean of documents are among the top reasons for leaving it so long to have a tidy up.

    And rather than throw old tech away, adults keep them on hand ‘just in case’ something happens to their upgraded phone, and two in 10 just can’t be bothered to get rid of them.

    Nearly a fifth of those polled (17 per cent) also admitted they consider themselves a hoarder when it comes to tech.

    A further quarter would be more likely to sell an old car when buying a new one, than sell tech items when buying a replacement.

    It also emerged that more than one in 10 feel the need to keep up with the latest technology, with a third thinking the best time to buy new tech is either on the day of the release or a while after.

    While one in three expect to receive at least one tech gift this Christmas, with thousands expected to hit the Boxing Day sales to buy themselves new gadgets.

    Donating old tech to charity to combat digital exclusion

    But despite an Ofcom report showing that 1.5 million households live in 'digital exclusion' - meaning that they lack the connectivity, devices or digital skills needed to participate in society - two in 10 adults didn’t know it’s possible to donate an old device to charity.

    Currently, only six per cent would consider donating their old tech to charity.

    Furthermore, as many as 48 per cent don’t know how to recycle or get rid of old technology responsibly.

    While four in 10 don’t know what digital poverty means, although 57 per cent consider internet access and connectivity an essential right.

    It also found more than a third would give they’re old device away if they knew it would make a difference to someone, according to the study by OnePoll.

    To encourage people to donate their unused tech, Vodafone has teamed up with Roman Kemp to launch 'ReBoxing day.'

    Max Taylor, consumer director, Vodafone UK, which commissioned the research, said: “With so much of modern life centered around technology, those who do not have access to it risk getting left behind.

    "Most people have old devices tucked away at home that they know they will never use again.

    “That’s why this Christmas we are calling on the British public to help us tackle digital poverty by donating their old devices, anyone can donate an old device - you don't have to be a Vodafone customer to take part.

    “We’ll then add six months of free data, calls and texts and gift your old device to those who need them the most.”