Almost six in 10 Britons replace their mobile phones with new versions at least once every two years.
In total, more than 17.5million of gadgets are thrown out each year – or one for every three UK adults – with their owners missing out on the potential to earn up to an estimated £85 for recycling each of these gadgets.
Here, we take a look at some of the best ways to make cash from your unwanted gadgets…
Money for nothing
New research from O2 shows that Britons lose out on an estimated £762 million each year by failing to cash in on old gadgets such as mobile phones, sat nav systems and digital cameras.
Instead, some 50% of gadget fans miss out on the £85 or so they could earn for each item by either binning them, giving them away or taking them to the tip.
Clare Francis, spokesman for MoneySupermarket, said: “Millions of people are missing out on huge sums of money simply because they do not bother to recycle their old gadgets.”
Reasons for this include a lack of awareness – more than a third of British consumers remain unaware that gadget-recycling services exist despite numerous television advertising campaigns – and plain old laziness.
According to the O2 research, more than one in 10 people simply can’t be bothered to recycle their gadgets even though they are aware that they could make some extra cash by doing so.
They might be more motivated if they knew just how much money was on offer, though.As it is, just 5% of people realise that they could gain between £51 and £100 by recycling an old gadget, while more than a quarter believe that recycling gadgets is not worth the time it takes to do it.
Among the few that do recognise the benefits are O2 Recycle user Neil Robinson, who used the £400 he made from recycling an iPhone and Blackberry to buy an iPad – allowing him to stay up to the minute without splashing out any extra cash.
Boosting your income, or getting new, up-to-date technology for free, is not the only reason to get into the habit of recycling your unwanted gadgets.
By sending them off to a recycling centre, rather than simply throwing them in the bin, you can also do your bit for the environment.
Some services even pass on any profits to charitable causes for an extra feel-good bonus.
Money made by O2’s not-for-profit recycling service O2 Recycle, for example, is donated to O2’s Think Big programme, which enables young people around the country to have a positive impact in their communities.
Chris Gamlin O2 Recycle said: “In addition to benefitting from cash in their pockets, O2 Recycle customers are also helping the environment and supporting a number of good causes.”
How to get involved
If you have an old mobile phone that you would like to recyle, the best way to find out exactly how much money you could get for it is to visit the MoneySupermarket mobile recycling section.
All you have to do once you are there is to put in the make and model of the handset you want to recycle, and it will tell you how much you can get for it and how to claim your cash.
For other unwanted gadgets, such as old cameras, MP3 players, sat navs and games consoles, meanwhile, check out how much you could get through different services before agreeing to a price.
Options include O2 Recycle, weeebuy.co.uk, recycleyourgadget.co.uk and the 'Recycle your Gadgets' service from Marks & Spencer.
Clare Francis said: “There are numerous gadget recycling services available. But not all of them will offer you the same amount for your old camera or games console.
"It is therefore worth checking with at least a few different companies to ensure that you do not sell yourself short.”