Bank between £1,300 and £6,330 by re-selling your unused tech

Media release, 31st January 2024

Half a months’ average UK salary sat in cupboards ready to be cashed in – Households could bank a windfall between £1,300 and £6,330 by reselling unused tech.

  • There are currently 880 million unused working electrical items gathering dust in the UK – 31 per household on average.
  • “Incredible untapped opportunity to earn extra cash equivalent to over half a months’ average UK salary.”
  • Unwanted items could be worth between £1,304 and £6,331 if sold through re-selling sites such as Gumtree and eBay.
  • Now is the perfect time to sell your unused electricals, or unwanted electrical Christmas gifts, to help your wallet beat the cash blues.
  • 1-in-5 adults hold onto unused electricals because they’re worried about deleting and transferring data properly.
  • Between £36.7b and £178.5b worth of unwanted electricals gathering dust in UK homes.

New research from the Recycle Your Electricals campaign shines a light on the hidden cash value in unused tech across the UK. 

The research has revealed that households could earn between £1,304 and £6,331 by selling unwanted electrical items through re-selling platforms such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Across all UK households there could be as much as  £36.7 billion for older, lower spec and unbranded items and £178.5 billion of newer, higher spec and branded items of unwanted electricals hidden in homes across the country. 

The research shows that the 880 million unused working electrical items currently gathering dust in the UK – 31 per household – could be worth upwards of £36.7bn. Buying and selling used electricals is part of a growing trend – a quarter (26%) of adults said they were open to selling these electricals and over a third (35%) open to buying.  Households are holding onto multiple unused electrical items, including nearly three unused mobile phones and two unused laptops (see Table 1 in Appendix below). 

To illustrate the cash value hidden in unused electricals, Recycle Your Electricals  has worked with origami artist Peter Buchan-Symons to create ‘moneygami’, the art of shaping currency into art. This time using some of the UK’s most likely unused tech including: a mobile phone, laptop, games console controller, blender, smart watch and an incredible pair of wearable origami headphones.

As 51% of UK adults feel the festive pinch after Christmas, and 36% of UK households look to bridge a financial gap following their Christmas spending, many might be surprised to learn that they could earn a substantial amount by selling unwanted electricals. Depending upon the age and brand of item, those with unwanted mobile phones could expect to make between £75 and £554, and unwanted tablets could earn between £50 and £649 on re-selling sites. Even unwanted electricals such as kettles and electric toothbrushes could top up your wallet this Winter, with kettles typically selling for between £15 and £116 and electric toothbrushes, £18 and £105.

Recycle Your Electricals has also teamed up with financial expert Emmanuel Asuquo to share his top tips for saving money during the first few months of 2024. 

Emmanuel says, “There’s no denying that this time of year can be a financial struggle for many, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of advice out there. 

“Normally I’m helping people tighten their belts, but here you’ve got an incredible untapped opportunity to earn extra cash equivalent to over half a months’ average UK salary, for around a day of your time spent decluttering. 

“I’m surprised how much money can be made! I’ve estimated I have around £2,000 worth of my own unused electrical items in my house alone – the cash is literally waiting for you in your drawers! It’s a really simple yet hugely effective way to declutter your home from items you no longer use and reap the benefits!”

However, not all UK adults are comfortable re-selling unwanted tech, with one in five adults in the UK still holding on to unused electricals because they’re concerned about how to delete and transfer the data properly. Recycle Your Electricals has enlisted the help of We Fight Fraud’s expert Tony Sales, to update its step-by-step guide for data deletion so UK households can erase data and safely sell unwanted electricals for extra cash (see below). Recycle Your Electricals has also curated a best practice guide to selling electricals, and details on special offers, deals and discounts from high street and online retailers, to help people financially as we move through the new year and into spring cleaning season. 

Scott Butler, Executive Director at Material Focus, which runs the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, says,We’ve all got that drawer of doom or cluttered cupboard with unused electricals at home.  Your cupboard of electricals can be cashed-in. If your electricals are working, they can make you money. Just make sure that you follow our guidance to destroy any data on your devices and our tips to get the best sale price.  And if they are broken, don’t forget – anything with a plug, cable or battery should never be binned and should always be reused or recycled!”

Selling unwanted electricals is not just great for the bank balance, it has huge benefits for the planet too. Waste electricals are the fastest growing e-waste stream, with many not realising that they contain some of the most precious materials on the planet, like gold, aluminium and lithium. So whether people have working items and choose to sell or donate them, or have broken items that they recycle, it’s a huge positive. Anything with a plug, battery or cable can be recycled. Visit Recycle Your Electricals’ Recycling Locator to find your nearest  recycling centre. 

To view the step by step guide for deleting data from Recycle Your Electricals and We Fight Fraud, or to find out more about how to recycle unwanted electricals, please visit:  


Content available: Case studies, money saving tips, data deletion tips and images of origami electricals made out of cash 

Origami electricals picture credit/ caption Recycle Your Electricals partners with origami artist Peter Buchan-Symons to illustrate cash value hidden in unused electricals.

Notes to Editors

For more information, contact: 

Report comprises:

  • Opinium research conducted for Material Focus Cash-in Electricals research, 5 January 2024 – 9 January 2024 amongst a nationally-representative sample of 2000 UK adults
  • Opinium research conducted for Material Focus Hoarded Electricals research, 29 August 2023 – 01 September 2023 amongst a nationally-representative sample of 2000 UK adults
  • Cash value of unused electricals – analysis undertaken by Material Focus
  • Opinium research conducted for Material Focus on consumer behaviour on recycling electricals – 15-19 September 2023 amongst a nationally-representative sample of 2000 UK adults
  • Cash value of electricals -We looked at the 31 products most likely to be found unwanted in UK households. Of course many households will have more than one example of an item – two phones, three cables and so on – and our final list of 14 products reflects this. Please see Appendix below for breakdown of these items. We then looked at the high and low selling prices on eBay and Gumtree for these 14 items to arrive at the totals £1,304 and £6,331.

About Material Focus

Material Focus is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to stop the nation throwing away or hoarding all their old, small electricals. Material Focus is delivering the UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign. The campaign is revealing the value hidden in electricals and is making it easier for us all to recycle and reuse the small electricals we no longer need by providing more recycling points as well as providing practical information on how households can reuse and recycle.

The campaign is funded by producers of electrical appliances which pays for a range of activities, including communications, behaviour change activities, increased recycling projects and research. Ultimately the aim is to support actions that will help the UK increase the levels of reuse and recycling of waste electricals.



  1. Create a Budget:

Start the year by creating a budget for the specific amount of money you have until payday. Outline your income and expenses to understand your financial situation clearly.

  1. Declutter with a Car boot sale:

Spend a day decluttering your home (taking a look at those random drawers of stuff we all have such as electricals!) and get rid of what you no longer need with a Car boot sale! Advertise it locally and offer reasonable prices to attract buyers. You can also join your local car boot sale to guarantee some traction.

  1. Cut Subscription Costs:

Review your subscriptions and cancel any you don’t use or need. This includes streaming services, magazines, gym membership (look out for just monthly ones that don’t tie you in), or other monthly subscriptions.

  1. Use Coupons and Cashback Offers:

There are a load of apps and websites out there which provide discounts for general household and personal items. Keep an eye out for coupons and cashback offers on sites like QuidCo when shopping! 

  1. Make the most of online: 

In addition to saving money, there are currently some untapped ways to make some money too – like using online seller platforms or classified websites to sell old or unwanted electricals! Set a competitive price and include detailed information about the item’s condition. Sites such as eBay, GumTree and Facebook Marketplace are great and easy ways to do this. What’s more, many retailers like Curry’s, offer trade-in programs where you can exchange your old electricals for store credit or cash!

  1. Cut time with re-seller platforms:

For those who are looking for more quick ways to make some money, reseller sites are an easy way to get rid of electrical items you no longer need or want. Sites including Music Magpie, BackMarket and Cash Converters will buy directly from you, providing you an instant quote for the item.

  1. Be mindful of tax:

With recent news from HMRC around tax payments for selling online, it may have created some confusion. However, if you sell old electrical items for less than you bought them for, there is no tax to pay. If you sell electrical goods for more than what you bought them for to make a profit of up to £1,000, you don’t have to declare. Anything over £1,000 is when you will have to declare income and you might have to pay tax. Be sure to check out for more information.

  1. Utilise Free Entertainment:

Look for free or low-cost entertainment options. For example, visit local parks and museums on free admission days, or enjoy outdoor activities without spending much.

  1. Opt for Store Brands:

Consider buying generic or store brands when shopping, inclusive of groceries, electricals, household and or personal items. They are often cheaper than name brands but can be of similar quality at the same time.

  1. Money saving sites:

Take advantage of websites such as Money Saving Supermarket. They provide comparisons and tools to help you find ways to super save on costs like household bills.  It can also be tailored to ensure all deals and updates shared are personalised to you. 




Sam – London – has sold £660 worth of electricals online this month

Joanne – Leeds – victim of data theft – planning to use data deletion guide to reassure her this doesn’t happen to her again

Kelly – London – has sold on peer-to-peer sites but not electricals due to data deletion fears –  planning to use data deletion guide to sell electricals in future

Laura – Bradford – has sold things on Vinted but worries about not being able to wipe data properly – needed an expert to tell her to do it properly before she would trust doing it herself


  1. Provide comprehensive instructions and make sure all necessary parts are included
  2. Display the CE Mark prominently in photos
  3. Be clear about the safety features and assurances of your product
  4. Verify the product’s recall status using official channels

For further information, please refer to the Recycle Your Electrical online guide.




1. Charging cables

2. Phones

3. Tablets

4. Speakers
5. Laptops

6. Hairdryers

7. Toothbrushes

8. Kettles

9. Games Consoles

10. Smart Watches

11. Blenders

12. Irons

13. Shavers

14. Straighteners

Table 1.

ItemAverage no. found in UK householdsAverage High End Selling PriceAverage Low End Selling Price
Charging Cables4.6£10.70£4
Games Consoles1.6£461.50£128
Smart Watches1.5£90£56

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