4.7 million Brits admit to throwing a phone away in a general waste bin

4.7 million people (7%) in the UK admit to throwing their old phone away in a general waste bin instead of recycling or trading in.

Vodafone has revealed the results of research with YouGov, showing how Brits are missing out on £6.9bn of potential savings by not trading in their existing handsets as they upgrade.

Despite the huge potential savings, 88% of Brits have never traded in a phone before, with the vast majority massively underestimating (by over £100) what a handset could be worth if traded in when choosing a new handset.

A third of Brits who don’t trade-in decided to skip savings and keep their old handset as a back-up – but nearly two thirds (58%) say they’ve never used them.

Nearly 60% of households in the UK have between one and three unused devices sitting at home unused.

Security and privacy are big concerns for Brits who don’t trade-in, with a quarter saying they wouldn’t trade in for this reason.

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of people (25%) who have traded-in say they didn’t receive as much for their phone as they were promised. And 7% (4.7 million Brits) admitted to throwing a phone away in a general waste bin.


At a time when e-waste is the fastest growing waste in the world, Vodafone has launched its new trade-in tool to help overcome the issues that have put people off trading in their phones.

Max Taylor, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK, said: “With our new, market-leading trade-in tool we’re fixing what has previously put people off trading in. We have made the process quick and easy and will guarantee the saving you will make upfront.”

It is estimated that 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were generated across the planet in 2019, more than ever before, and this is projected to reach an incredible 75 million tonnes by 2030, which is 9 kg for every person in the world.

With our new, market-leading trade-in tool we’re fixing what has previously put people off trading in.

E-waste is not only very prevalent it also has great value; the raw materials contained in the global e-waste generated in 2019 were worth approximately €50.8 billion.

Less than 18% of this global e-waste was officially documented as recycled last year, with the rest either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way and this is despite 71% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation.

This results in a huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues.

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