The Bulletin

Brits hoard millions of unused mobiles

Posting in Energy

It's not just clothes and furniture we tend to hoard, it seems.

A new study released by gadget recycling site SellMyMobile suggests that roughly £6.86 billion ($10.7m) in mobiles remain gathering dust in U.K. households, unused and forgotten.

Conducted between January 14 and 17 this year, the survey suggests that the average person has at least two mobiles at home. Unsurprising, really. The national treasure trove of unused mobiles could be put to better use -- such as recycling or exchange, but having a spare phone lying around is pretty handy. (I have three, shame on me.)

The poll's results, with a survey sample size of 2,000 people, calculated that there are over 90 million unused mobile phones in British homes. 78 percent said that they have one 'spare' mobile phone at home, whereas 33.7 percent said they are keeping hold of three or more.

You can understand why approximately 53 percent of those surveyed said they keep one at home as an insurance measure, but why keep three or more phones hoarded away? Sometimes, it may be pure laziness that stops the average Brit from cashing in on their unwanted phones. Almost 20 percent said they are simply "too lazy" to bother with trading in, whereas 18.7 percent they "don't know what to do" with their outdated mobiles.

Colin White, managing director at, commented:

"In today's tough economic climate, some extra cash can make all the difference. So it's surprising that we are literally sitting on a potential goldmine stashed away in boxes at home. There are so many companies willing to pay good money for consumers looking to recycle their old phone."

Blame the lazy streak, or simply the fact that old models may not be worth much these days -- and so going through the process may not be worth the reward. However, there's always charity, or a crowd of potentially willing buyers on eBay.

According to the company's website, the most popular phone to trade in is currently the iPhone 4 16GB model, which usually fetches approximately £140, whereas the Blackberry Curve 8520 comes in at £54.

Photo Credit: Johan Larsson


— By on January 29, 2013, 3:07 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure