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Industry News

Published on November 16th, 2021 | by The GC Team

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‘Zoomers’ identified as top stashers of unused tech devices

  • 4 in 10 Britons have three or more devices/appliances they no longer use
  • 8 in 10 would recycle their old electricals if it was easier

Young people are the biggest hoarders of unused tech devices, with Gen Z (also known as zoomers) being the worst culprits.

According to new research from online electricals retailer AO, 46% of those aged 18-24 have between six and ten electrical items gathering dust somewhere in the home, whereas the UK average is three. Mobile phones the most likely to be discarded in a drawer, closely followed by laptops, headphones and DIY tools.

But the research also shows that many people keep their old electricals because they are unsure how to recycle them and if there was an easy way to do this, they would.

Large appliances are hoarded too

When it comes to major domestic appliances, the study found that around a third of people have at least one fridge somewhere in their home that they no longer use, and the same figure also admitted to having at least one washing machine they no longer use, with 9% revealing they have three still in their home – confirming the uncertainty that exists about how to dispose of electrical goods.

On average, those surveyed estimated that their hoarded electricals were worth £228.

Tech and materialism

When asked why they are so reluctant to part with their gadgets, a third said they like to keep the electricals as a backup. And while concerns about disposal and privacy were prevalent among 18-24 year-olds, this same group was found by AO to be the most materialistic with over a third saying they always buy the latest model, making them five times more likely to upgrade than 45-64 year-olds.  Gen Zers also prefer to upgrade their devices after only a year of use, whereas over 70% of 65+ year-olds only buy a new electrical item when the existing one has broken.

Nonetheless, a third of all respondents said they keep their old electricals because they’d like to recycle them but are unsure how, and eight out of ten agreed that if there was an easy way to recycle old devices and appliances, they would like to do this instead of keeping them.

The will to recycle

Robert Sant, MD of AO Recycling, said: “The new research shows that people clearly want to recycle their old electricals and appliances. They often end up collecting dust or fly-tipped on the street when we could help to reduce our impact on the environment by just recycling them.”

“Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in people taking advantage of our recycling service, with AO Recycling receiving 68% more unwanted fridges compared to the previous year. We believe it is the responsibility of retailers and manufacturers to make it as easy and hassle-free as possible for people to safety recycle these items.”  

AO.com currently offers a Collect & Recycle service where both customers and the public can book to have their appliances taken away to be responsibly recycled at the firm’s fridge recycling plant in Telford.

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