What to do with unwanted gadgets: Weeebuy.co.uk, freecycling and charity

A study has revealed that Brits throw away an unbelievable £6 billion a year in unwanted gadgets.

With just 20% of electrical devices recycled, the report, from www.weeebuy.co.uk, reckons each of us is around £90 out of pocket thanks to our wasteful habits.

As we know our readers love their gadgets (well, you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise would you?) we don’t like to think of you throwing good money down the drain, when you could be using it to indulge in your next piece of gadgety goodness.

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So, here are a few ideas about what you can do with your unwanted gadgets, whether it’s making yourself a bit of cash, doing a good turn for someone less fortunate, or saving the earth with a bit of the old reduce, reuse, recycle ethos:

Sell them
As you, our astute readers are obviously aware, www.weeebuy.co.uk didn’t carry out that study entirely for philanthropic purposes. They wanted to get their name out into the open, so that we tech-heads would sell them our gear. So, let’s pander to them, and we’ll tell you how it works.

Log on to the site, enter the products you want to sell and they’ll tell you how much they’ll get. They then data wipe and refurbish devices before selling them on. Personally I’d wipe my device myself, but I guess it adds an extra level of security. If they’re not working, they may be broken down and used for parts to fix other devices.

I though I’d check out a few of my own devices – my EOS 350D DSLR would get me just over £13, while my Sony Ericsson F500i phone (I know, I really need to upgrade!) would get me a paltry two quid. My Nintendo Wii, however would bring in a not inconsiderable £47. You can also swap your gadgets for vouchers if you prefer.

If you send in five or more gadgets you get a better price, so if you have a drawer (or cupboard) full of old gizmos, it’s worth a go. I’d say for more up-to-date kit you’d be better off selling privately on eBay or on a second-hand site such as pre-loved.com or gumtree.com – or even at a car boot sale. At most car boot sales I’ve sold at (especially in London) dealers will pounce on you as you arrive asking for old cameras, electrical and computer equipment, so you’ll be in demand. Just go prepared, with an idea of what your gadgets could fetch, and if they ask how much, always go in with a higher price as they will want to haggle you down.

Recycle mobile phones
You’ve all seen the sites for mobile phone recycling from the likes of Envirofone and Mazuma Mobile. But which one to choose? Well, just like pretty much everything else these days, there are price comparison sites that will trawl the recycling sites and find the best deal for you. I used this and discovered I could get £130 for my husband’s Apple iPhone 8GB 3g (don’t tell him though!).

Donate to charity
Last month, Michael Lucas, retail director at the British Heart Foundation, appealed for Britons to donate their small electrical items to charity shops. Rather than hoarding old CD players, radios and other electronic, give them to charity. Last year the British Heart Foundation raised more than £9 million from selling old electrical goods. Oxfam and Cancer Research also accept small electricals, but it’s worth checking with your local shop that they will accept them before you haul in a boxful of gizmos.

Diabetes UK, meanwhile, offers a free collection service for gadgets including mobile phone, laptops, notebooks and even ink cartridges. They will receive upwards of £3 for each phone, 50 for ink cartridges and up to £100 for old laptops, so it’s a simple way to donate to charity without doing any legwork yourself. For details log on here.

Your local council has to offer a similar service under the WEEE directive, which is aimed at reducing the amount of electrical products produced and the amount thrown away, rather recycled (find out more about WEEE here ). You might find you have to pay them to take your gear away though.
Check out more about local recycling at www.recyclenow.com

Give it away
Don’t forget that someone (almost) always wants what you don’t! Communities such as Freegle and Freecycle are great places to advertise old gadgets. Often you’ll find it populated by at least one person who refurbishes laptops (whether they sell them on for their own gains, or donate them to some charity organisation or school), as well as someone desperate for a CD player that works because their new puppy just chewed theirs to bits. You’ll have to register to join your local site before posting up your offerings.

Make something new!
Finally, if you’re feeling creative and inventive, you could actually make some new gizmos from your old gadgets. Glean some inspiration from 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (Workman; £9.99; ISBN 978-0-7611-5243-9). This ingenious book has bright ideas for making a breathalyser machine, a water-gun alarm clock and USB-enabled fruit! Your old mobile phone can become a safe for money and thumb drives and your old Palm Pilot can become a doodle pad.
Find out more here.