March 2013

Gadget Recycling 2013

Gadget Recycling 2013: What to Expect

By: Ashley Turner, Townside

Data collected from 2+ Million consumers has helped put together these gadget recycling predictions.

We’re now outnumbered; there are more mobile devices on the planet than people.

The reason for such large volumes of unused handsets being on the market is the lack of consumers who recycle and reuse their old devices. There are so many options nowadays for getting rid of your old device for some cash, the most popular being; eBay, gadget recycling, local advertorial listings and reusing your device by giving or selling it to a friend. So what are the gadget recycling predictions for 2013 on how the industry and trends will evolve?

Prediction 1: Volumes of unused devices in circulation decreases in 2013

Back in 2011 it was reported that over 130 million unused phones in the US, 160 million in Europe (40 million of which are in the UK). The value of the 40 million phones in the UK was $1.2 Billion / £762 Million. Now new data is in: A survey in 2013 shows the figure is down to $1.08 Billion / £686 Million showing the awareness of gadget recycling increasing for the consumer.

This decrease is great news, as naturally the values should be increasing considering the huge booms in smartphone sales in the past 24 months and the average trade in value being $179 / £114 (Dec 2012). Instead this data shows the older devices are being recycled, otherwise the monetary value would be much higher than $1.2 Billion / £762 Million for 40 Million UK devices.

Prediction 2: The average trade in value will increase 25% in 2013?

Based on historic pricing data from, there has been a steady device value increase year on year that has stabilised with the release of cheaper android smartphones. By the end of 2013 consumers can expect to receive $224 / £142 on average, this is an increase from 2012’s $179 / £114.

The reason for these increases is really down to the trade in market maturing as it’s still very new. Just 5 years previous the average value a consumer saw was $32 / £20. Now, as more consumer facing recycling companies enter the market, prices become more competitive, stores are forced to find smarter exit routes for their stock than shipping the handsets out to China factories. Now places like Europe, Africa, India take on old devices, some companies refurbish the devices to resell within the same country, other companies pass on refurbish stock to phone insurance channels as cheaper replacements.

Prediction 3: The devices that will hold their value in 2013

We’ve based the following data on UK pricing trends from gadget manufacturer and model values graphed over the past 5 years.

  1. Apple iPad (all models)
  2. Sony Playstation 3 Slim
  3. BlackBerry Curve 8520
  4. Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite
  5. Amazon Kindle Fire

The Xbox 360 Elite, Playstation 3 Slim and Kindle are new devices to be added to the recycling portfolio, therefore as discussed in prediction 2; the market is still maturing for them. New rival stores competing have actually raised the price in the last 12 months for these products. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has hit a stage now where in the last 12 months it has only dropped in price by 2%.

The iPad has interestingly remained fairly stable only loosing on average 8% of its value. Similar products from rival companies Samsung and RIM depreciated between 30-37%. The iPad seems a good investment, considering historically as Apple launches new products the trade value of its predecessor crashes. Take the launch of the iPhone 5, in a 30 day period Apple iPhone trade-ins erupted 367% causing an average from in all iPhone values by 40% (in the same 30 day period). This is something worth keeping in mind if you’re a business or consumer when you consider upgrading your old device.

Prediction 4: The top 10 recycled in 2013

Below are the top 5 recycled gadgets of 2012 and the share of the total trade-ins during that 12 month period. The last half of 2012 the latest iPhone models (iPhone 4S and 5) began increasing in trade in volumes which was would surprise some of you as the iPhone 5 only just come out in Sept 2012!

Top recycled gadgets for 2012

  1. Apple iPhone 4 16GB – (17% 2012 trade ins)
  2. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB – (7% 2012 trade ins)
  3. BlackBerry 8520 – (6% 2012 trade ins)
  4. Samsung Galaxy S – (5% 2012 trade ins)
  5. Samsung Galaxy S2 – (3% 2012 trade ins)

Top recycled gadget predictions for 2013

The predicted list below is mapped on trends represented by big gadget / phone releases, historic pricing, current recycle data as well as taking into account how the market share has shifted between manufacturers in the past 12 months.

  1. Apple iPhone 4 16GB
  2. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB
  3. Apple iPhone 4S 16GB
  4. BlackBerry 8520
  5. Apple iPhone 5 16GB
  6. Samsung Galaxy S2
  7. BlackBerry Curve 9300
  8. Samsung Galaxy S3
  9. Samsung Galaxy S
  10. BlackBerry Torch 9800

With the impending release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the BlackBerry 10 the trade in market is expected to shift away from what was previously a top 10 dominated by Apple and Blackberry. With Samsungs sales from the last 24 months, especially the Galaxy S series the UK has seen a large climb in the charts by the manufacturer. The release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 will no doubt have a huge impact on loyal customers wanting to upgrade from their old models. Any plan/contract periods will be ending, thus freeing the consumers to upgrade their handsets and trade in their older models.

Prediction 5: Mobile recycling will become more accessible at a corporate level

Data protection on mobile devices is a huge risk to any corporate company. When recycling mobile devices and tablets, traditionally these companies have concerns regarding the level of data deletion the devices receive. New innovations in security suites have enabled forensic deletion of data, anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-theft that enable corporate recycling to take place on such devices. This recycling can be used to replenish expenses on business phones or donate and raise funds for their corporate partners such as charities. An example of a company that provides this is

So what does the future have in store for gadget recycling?

Most of these websites started off as phone recycling companies, however as the market has grown they expanded into larger ranges. As more prices get listed on these gadgets the value to the consumer gets better naturally from them competing against each other. A recent survey has pulled in data suggesting that these are the top gadgets people have no use for in their homes. This would likely effect the growth of the range consumers can recycle and alter the top devices with great price retention in the future.

  1. 40 million unused mobile phones
  2. 12 million unused games consoles
  3. 11 million unused digital cameras
  4. 9 million unused PCs
  5. 5.5 million unused laptops
  6. 1 million unused sat navs

About actively promotes the re-use and recycling, progressing green reduction of E-waste in the UK. To discover more about mobile recycling in the UK visit There are some great resources for learning about how e-waste recycling impacts the environment and the drain in resources mobile devices have on the African Congo, including its wildlife like the Eastern Lowland Gorilla.

Launched back in 2009, is the UK’s most trusted independent source for gadget recycling comparison. To date the company has recycled $65.9 Million (£41.7M) gadgets and displaying 100,000’s prices for phones, cameras, games consoles, tablets, tablet readers, iPods, laptop and sat navs. Find out more about our 100% impartial service by contacting us at or become a follower on or