Virgin Media O2 research reveals 15 million phones stashed by UK households

Virgin Media O2
Virgin Media O2
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
22 November 2022

British households are home to nearly 15 million unused mobile phones, plus more than seven million old DVD players and six million televisions, according to a new study by Virgin Media O2.

The research found that people just haven’t got round to sorting out their old tech. 39% of people surveyed said that they have unused electrical items in their homes – including 3.5 million discarded iPods, 4.7 million unused headphones, and 4.6 million retro VCR players.

Virgin Media O2 has teamed up with environmental charity Hubbub to launch the Time After Time e-waste fund for community groups and organisations that help tackle e-waste and encourage recycling and reusing.

Nicola Green from Virgin Media O2 said: “It’s staggering how many old, unused, and outdated gadgets like phones, VCR players and USB sticks are gathering dust in drawers, lofts, and garages across the country.


“We know that people are worried about their old tech ending up in landfill and the impact it’s having on the planet. That’s why we’ve launched the £500,000 Time After Time fund with Hubbub to fund eco projects that tackle e-waste and help old devices to be used again and again.”

Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub said: “E-waste is a pressing environmental issue and we’re encouraging organisations to apply for this funding with projects that remove barriers and help people to extend the life of their old electricals by repairing, passing them on or recycling them.

“Organisations can apply for grants between £10,000 to £75,000. We’re urging people to spread the word about this funding which could have a significant impact. If you know a charity, social enterprise, local authority or community organisation running e-waste initiatives then do point them in our direction to apply for this financial support.”

Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub are looking for projects that:

  • Prevent e-waste by extending the life of small electrical items – encouraging repairs, refreshing, passing on or purchasing preloved electricals

  • Increase recycling rates of small electricals – focusing on specific items and trialling new schemes that make it easier for people to recycle

  • Engage young people in circular economy solutions to e-waste

  • Focus on education and awareness of new or existing solutions

Know of a project or organisation that could benefit? Visit the Time After Time fund to find out more.