What to do with unused tech – how to recycle your old smartphone, tablet or laptop

19th March 2021 | Recycling

There are 40 million unused gadgets in our homes, according to a survey by the Royal Society of Chemistry, with 45% of us hoarding up to five unused devices. So what can you do with them to avoid committing them to landfill? From passing them on to friends and family to selling, donating and recycling them, there are plenty of options. But remember – if you’re waving goodbye to your old technology, removing your personal information is a vital step. We’ve got more details below.

If you have a friend or relative who isn’t bothered about having the latest version of a gadget and your unwanted device is still in good working order, consider passing it on to them. However, if the device is too old it will no longer be receiving software and security updates, making it vulnerable to hackers, so check before passing it on. Android phones and tablets aren’t generally supported after three years, while you can expect to get five years from an iPhone or iPad.


If you want to give away your gadget but don’t know anyone who wants it, using Freecycle is a good option. It’s a network of local groups where you can arrange to give away – and receive – all kinds of unwanted items. You’ll have to arrange collecting and delivering items yourself, though.

You can trade in your unused gadgets at retailers including Apple, Carphone Warehouse, Currys PC World, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone, to get money off a new device or in exchange for a gift card. For example, trading in a working 64GB Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone at Carphone Warehouse, which you can do online or in a store, will give you £95 off a new phone. Carphone Warehouse also promises to match any better trade-in price (from a major mobile network or Mazuma Mobile) and give you an extra £10 on top.

More information available on the website below