We all have a ‘bits and bobs’ or ‘messy’ drawer. It’s probably home to some string, spare light bulbs, old batteries — and, collectively, an estimated 40million forgotten electronic devices, according to a report last week.
The Royal Society Of Chemistry warned this is an utter waste of rare earth elements needed to create new technology.
It also raised concerns about the number of people with no plans to recycle their devices, which could mean toxic substances end up in the landfill.
Many mobile networks also offer to recycle old phones for cash
Some High Street stores will pay more for your devices if you accept store credit instead of cash.
Retailer Game will pay £86.40 for the same console in perfect condition, or £108 credit to customers who trade it in store.
If you still have the box, you could get £92 from CeX.
You might not be offered cash for some older models, but you can still recycle the item for free.
If you have Apple products you can swap them for an Apple Store gift card. The firm pays up to £900 for a computer, £380 for a tablet and £380 for a smartphone.
High Street retailer Currys also offers gift cards for old laptops and other electronics or a discount on some items. For example, you can get a £20 gift card if you recycle an old Google Chromebook. Buy another device and you could get between £50 and £200 off. It also recycles other electronics free.
Try your mobile phone provider…
Many mobile networks also offer to recycle old phones for cash. You do not need to be a customer but you may get less if your phone is locked to another network.
O2 offers £50 for a working, non-damaged iPhone 6 64GB if it is locked to O2, Three, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile or Sky. But if you are a EE customer, for example, it drops to £34.
Vodafone, EE and Three also have their own phone trade-in service paying £50 for the same model. All of the networks provide a postage pack so you can send in your device for free.
… Or help a good cause
Many councils will take unwanted electronics at recycling centres. For example, there are seven run by Oxfordshire council which accept everything from laptops to vacuum cleaners and electric shavers.
Other councils offer bulky waste collections — but you may have to pay a fee. Hackney Council in East London charges £15 to collect five items. Bristol residents have to pay £25 for up to three items or £50 for up to six.
You can also donate unwanted items to charity shops, but check first that they accept electronics. Some charities are part of recycling schemes which allow you to sell your old phone and donate all, or some, of the proceeds.
Fonebank, for example, works with Oxfam, Water Aid and the National Trust and offers £40 for a working iPhone 6 16GB, or £50 if it is unlocked.
You can then choose to donate between 25 per cent and 100 per cent of the sale price of old mobiles. If you have five or more old phones they will be collected by courier for free.
Fonebank will not accept phones that do not charge or if the screen does not work. Alternatively, you can always just give old devices to any friends or family members who need one.