One third of Scots have unused smartphones going to waste

Scots are being called on to declutter and help the environment by putting their unwanted tech to good use.

Monday, 13th February 2017, 2:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:30 am
One third of Scots have unused smartphones going to waste.

Nearly 60 per cent [59 per cent] of people in the UK say they have an electrical item at home that they don’t use anymore.

In Scotland alone 32 per cent say they have an old smartphone tucked away, while a quarter admit to hoarding a digital camera they no longer use and 19 per cent say they still have a computer or laptop they don’t need.

Zero Waste Scotland is challenging people nationwide to get involved with its ‘Big Electric Amnesty’, as part of this year’s Pass it on Week (11-19 March 2017), by donating their unwanted electricals to others.

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Andrew Pankhurst, Zero Waste Scotland’s re-use campaigns manager, said: “Many of us are guilty of tucking our old tech away for a rainy day, and with around 60 per cent of people in the UK admitting to having unused gadgets at home that’s a lot of equipment that could benefit someone else.

“This Pass It On Week we really want Scots to think about the value in their unwanted tech. Not only could it mean a lot to someone else but everyone also has a part to play in helping Scotland achieve its zero waste ambitions. Re-use is a key factor in that.

“By changing the way we design, make, buy and dispose of unwanted electrical and electronic items we could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 15 per cent and add around £800 million to the economy.”

Waste electrical and electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the UK and is increasing at a rate three times that of average municipal waste growth, with much of it destined for landfill.

In Scotland alone many potentially re-usable items are sent to landfill, including 365,000 TVs. Every year, the average household in the UK spends about £800 on new electrical and electronic goods. This equates to about 1.4 million tons of electrical and electronic goods and we produce 23.5kg of electrical waste per population head each year.

Businesses, schools and community groups across the country are being encouraged to show their support for Pass It On Week. Simply sign up as an amnesty station online at to receive a free pack – including an amnesty box in which to collect unwanted electrical and electronic items in working condition. After the week Zero Waste Scotland partners will collect the items from your location for free and will professionally delete any data left on devices.

Andrew Pankhurst added: “There’s no limit to what you can do to join in with Pass It On Week – you can pass on anything you don’t use. Organising a swap-shop, pop-up lending library, or hosting a repair workshop are all fun and easy ways to get involved – and we’d love to hear what you have planned.” Register an action for Pass It On Week at

Pass it on Week and the Big Electric Amnesty are funded as part of the Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme Fund, which is administered by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).