Millions of serviceable computers in the UK end up in landfill sites rather than being recycled, a study has claimed.
The research, sponsored by Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC), found that 12.5 million unwanted PCs and laptops have not been reused or recycled by their owners.
The survey found that one in four machines are taken to tips and more than one million computers have been dumped in household rubbish or the countryside.
Only one in 10 Britons claimed their discarded computer was recycled through a manufacturer's recycling facility, and 40 percent said they gave their old computer to a friend or charity.
A massive 6.2 million people said they have unused computers lying around their home or garden, while 5.1 million said they took their old computer to their local dump.
Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes are generated every year, with IT equipment accounting for 39 percent of it.
More than six months on from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive coming into effect, just 26 percent the 94,600 tonnes of IT WEEE waste is recycled.
FSC said that, even for the one in four people who take their rubbish to their local tip, unless their laptop or PC is assessed on the site, there is no guarantee that it will be passed on for reuse or recycled. It said this was a "huge missed opportunity" as, with the right facilities, these thrown-away units could easily be reused elsewhere.
The company said assessment facilities need to be established at the municipal sites where people drop off their waste.