Brits splash cash on gadget stash

Up to £5bn worth of gadgets is stashed away in lofts and cupboards across the UK

The UK is a nation of hoarders with as much as £5bn worth of unused technology taking up space in lofts and cupboards the length and breadth of the country.

The average household reportedly has £254 worth of technology picking up dust -- with old mobile phone handsets and disused televisions and videos topping the list.

The poll commissioned by Telewest and carried out by ICM revealed that 18 to 24-year olds are the most prolific hoarders -- with twice the national average of unloved gadgetry knocking around at home.

On an environmental level this hoarding does present a serious problem. Eventually this stockpile of technology, which is growing all the time, will have to be discarded.

Ian Willmore, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, said hoarding is "an inevitable bi-product of an economy which depends upon creating demand for new technology," and warned "it is a persistent problem which is only going to get worse".

Willmore said the responsibility for disposing of gadgets and consumer electronics must lie primarily with retailers and manufacturers, but added "as far as possible you should do what you can as a consumer to recycle wherever possible".

However, he conceded that not enough is being done to educate people as to what they can do to recycle such items. Most people know where they can recycle paper and bottles, but very few know where to take their old handsets, televisions or computer monitors.

High street retailer Comet has already been active in encouraging people to recycle mobile phones. Customers can receive £5 off their next handset or ask for the money to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Research each time they return a phone.

Earlier this year Comet also launched an initiative which encouraged UK mobile phone users to send in any unused handsets in a pre-paid envelope. At the peak of the scheme as many as 3,000 handsets were being processed each day, with any that were still working being redistributed to areas in Africa and India."

Craig Andersen, of the Community Recycling Network, suggests anybody who is hoarding high-tech toys and gadgets should contact their local authority. He also suggested checking the local press.

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