Careless Brits losing £1.5billion of gadgets each year

New research from O2 Recycle reveals over 6.2 million Brits lose at least one tech gadget, including mobile phones, MP3 players, sat navs and laptops every year. With 17.5million gadgets mislaid around the home or in public places, the UK is sitting on a potential cash bounty of £1.5billion if every item lost was reclaimed and recycled instead.

Where do most people lose their stuff?

Whilst 29% have no idea where they lost their gadget, the findings show that Brits are literally leaving cash lying around with 59% losing their gadget in a public place and 33% saying it is somewhere in their home.

Millions of consumers are counting the cost as half of those surveyed (49%) never find their lost gadgets and only 6% claim for them on insurance. With almost a third (31%) making no attempt to look for them either, O2 Recycle is urging people to reclaim their once lost item and cash-in an average of £85 per gadget recycled. 

 Top loss locations include:

  • Bars and clubs -  £85 million worth of gadget or 10 million gin and tonics
  • Taxis – £43.5 million or 17,500 car journeys from Lands End to John O’Groats
  • Parks – £44 million or 11 million park playground revamps
  • Shops – £39.5 million or 39,525 designer handbags
  • Trains – £22.5 million or 80,446 return trips from London to Manchester

Top Gadgets lost:

Mobile phones top the list of gadgets most likely to be mislaid with a staggering 5.2million lost each year. Others in the top lost list are:

  • MP3 players – 2.7 million lost each year
  • Digital cameras – 2.5 million lost each year
  • Mobile phone accessories – 2.5 million lost each year
  • Games consoles –1.7 million lost each year
  • Sat navs – 1.7 million lost each year

Who is most likely to lose something

Unsurprisingly, boozy Brits are the most careless – with 1 in 5 (16%) losing a gadget in a pub, bar or club – the most of any location. The research also points to a north vs. south drinking divide as a quarter of northerners (24%) lose their gadget on a night out compared to just 14% of southerners. However, Scots are the most careful with only 5% losing their gadget while out on the town.

What do we have to say about all this?

Chris Gamlin, from O2 Recycle, said; “Our research shows that people are literally leaving money lying around.  By reclaiming any old lost items and recycling them they’re set to make a healthy return. At O2 Recycle we recycle a range of gadgets, including mobile phones, MP3 players, sat navs, laptops and even desktop computers in return for cash and the price match guarantee ensures the best price possible is given. On average, £85 cash can be recouped per item so it’s well worth the effort – especially in the run up to Christmas. 

“In addition to the cash benefit, O2 Recycle customers are also helping the environment and supporting a number of good causes. O2 Recycle is a not-for-profit initiative with any money made donated to O2’s Think Big programme which enables young people around the country to have a positive impact in their communities.”

For more information about O2 Recycle and to find out how much money you can get for your electronic gadget visit

A cabbie tells his version:

Phillip Caston, a 61-year old London cabbie, says that his customers were often leaving their phones in the back of his cab.

“It’s so easy to drop them, they are small and black and you can miss them if you look quickly. So now I ask them and then check the cab after they leave.”

On average, he says that mobiles are most likely to be left behind with one every fortnight ending up in his cab. If that happens he takes the phone to the TfL Lost Property at Baker Street where it is retained for 3 months. “I know about recycling and think it’s a good idea”, he says.