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old tech in the home

How much old technology is in your home – and what do you do with it?

The UN recently reported that electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented recycling. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that an average household now has around 30 unused or broken electrical and tech items – an increase of 10 items over the last four years. The most common items are remote controls, mobile phones and hairdryers.

Material Focus is a group that is working to make it easier for everyone across the UK to fix, donate and recycle their electricals. It estimates that over 880 million unused items are being held in UK homes. Executive director Scott Butler hits the nail on the head when saying that we all probably have a “drawer of doom” in our homes, containing items such as cables that we don’t know what they’re for and remotes for items that we lost long ago.

But what should you do with old electrical items, and particularly old tech? It’s tempting just to put them in the bin to get rid of them, but this should be avoided as it can cause toxic substances such as lead and mercury to spread into soil and water. It is also a waste of resources, as technical items contain valuable elements such as steel, aluminium, copper, lithium batteries and even gold, which could be reused.

So in this article we give you a few ideas as to what to do with your old tech items, and how to ensure that your data is secure in the process.


What to do with old tech items

Once you start investigating what to do with old tech items, you will find there are plenty of options. And some of them can also bring you either a bit of money or a discount towards new devices, which can be a significant help if you are planning to take out a personal loan to buy something new.

Here are six of the best:

  • Trade them in with a major retailer

Many retailers now accept old tech devices. In return they will reduce the price of new items or give you a gift or discount voucher for a future purchase. A few retailers to investigate here are Amazon, Apple, Carphone Warehouse and Currys, as well as mobile networks EE and O2.


  • Sell them privately

If your items are still in good condition, it is worth looking into selling them privately. Either advertise locally or spread the net by listing on sites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.


  • Sell them to an online dealer

There are many online dealers that will give you a price for your old tech and gadgets. You can then either post them or have them collected. Examples include Music Magpie and Ziffit. You may not get a huge price for them but they will be taken off your hands and you will at least receive something in return.


  • Sell them to a recycling site

If you’d prefer to know that your old tech was being put to use, look into recycling sites such as Mazuma Mobile and Envirofone. These offer cash for tech such as old phones and laptops, then they recondition them to sell in developing countries.


  • Donate them to charity

Taking the above concept one step further, you may decide to donate your old gadgets to charity, rather than trying to make money from them. Some ideas on how to do this are:

  • Schemes run by mobile phone companies such as Three’s Reconnected Scheme or Vodafone’s Great British Tech Appeal. These kinds of schemes enable you to send your phone by post and it will then be passed onto a charity to give to someone in need..
  • WeeeCharity collects working electrical goods which it will then recycle, refurbish or resell to raise money for community projects. 
  • Some major charities such as Oxfam and Water Aid run Fonebank schemes which accept unwanted mobile phones for refurbishment or recycling.
  • Some High Street charity shops will take old electronic devices to resell. But check with them first as to what they will and won’t accept.


  • Take them to the council recycling centre

If you have no success with any of the above options, you can always take your devices to your nearest council recycling centre where they will be recycled responsibly. You can find your nearest recycling centres by entering your postcode on Recycle Your Electricals


How to keep your data secure

One burning question when getting rid of old tech is what happens to the data on it? How can you be sure that if you give away an old phone, tablet, or laptop, that it will not put you at risk of data theft?

There are a few measures that you can take before parting with your items that can keep your data secure. The exact details depend on the type and brand of item, but here are a few general pointers to give you an idea.


  • Make sure you sign out of all significant accounts on the device, for example financial, online retailers, email, social media and cloud storage.
  • Delete any apps that contain sensitive personal data.
  • Remove the SIM card.
  • Use Factory Reset to wipe information, documents, contacts, photos and music stored on the device.


Laptops and tablets
  • Back up all information, documents and media on the device.
  • Delete everything from the device and empty the recycle bin.
  • Also run through a Reset procedure to completely wipe the device, as follows:
    • Windows. If you have a Windows 10 or 11 laptop or tablet use the Reset function. If you have an older version of Windows, use a tool such as Eraser to overwrite your data. 
    • Mac devices. There are various different reset methods depending on which version of the Mac operating system you have. If you have macOS Monterey or later, with certain Apple specs, there is an Erase All Content and Settings function. But for older Macs, you will need to use the Disk Utility function.
    • Chromebook. You will need to use Powerwash which can be accessed from the Restart menu. 


We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what to do with your old technology. And if you are considering replacing some of your gadgets, and need a bit of a financial boost to do so, remember that Loans 2 Go offers online loans which could be a solution. 

Do visit us here again soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.