Home / News / Brits’ Cell Phones: Brits get £320 million boost from selling old devices through O2 Recycle

Brits’ Cell Phones: Brits get £320 million boost from selling old devices through O2 Recycle

Brits can pocket on average £197 for simply trading in their old mobile phone – the equivalent of a two-year Netflix subscription, according to data from Virgin Media O2.

The impressive savings, which can be made via O2 Recycle, have been released by Virgin Media O2 to encourage people to sustainably dispose of their old devices.

As well as smartphones, Brits can help reduce e-waste and make money by recycling tablets and wearables like smart watches, pocketing on average £59 and £75 respectively.

And according to Virgin Media O2’s research, Brits have plenty of unwanted tech in their homes with almost 15 million unused mobile phones, 2.9 million tablets and 4.6 million headphones gathering dust in drawers, stashed in attics or lying around in lofts.

With Brits being more money conscious than ever due to the rising cost-of-living, O2 Recycle saw an 18% spike in the number of mobile phones being recycled via the initiative in 2022 compared to 2021. In addition, more than a third chose to receive an O2 bill credit voucher last year.

In 2022 O2 Recycle paid out more than £36 million to consumers for their devices, processing on average nearly 1,000 (974) handsets per working day. 92% of these devices were data wiped, refurbished, and resold as ‘like new’ products to customers – supporting the circular economy – and the remainder were broken down for raw materials. None of the tech through O2 Recycle ends up in landfill.

People can simply send their old device, regardless of the mobile network they are with, to O2 Recycle for free by getting a free postage QR code or by requesting packaging to be sent to their home or office that includes a printed free postage label. Find out more here.

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “We know how extra cash can go a long way in the current climate and O2 Recycle helps customers to save money and the planet too. The scheme has paid out more than £320 million and sustainably recycled 3.8 million devices since 2009, with zero going to landfill. That’s why it always pays to check if you’ve got any old devices in your house that can make you cash while being recycled.”

O2 Recycle is a key part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections Plan – the company’s sustainability strategy, and one of the ways the company is helping to tackle e-waste and is supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions by the end of 2025.

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