Now Prime Day is over, what are you doing with your old kit?

We love a bit of new tech joy, but it's wise to get rid of your old tech responsibly

Electronic waste in yellow bin
(Image credit: Patrickewastenz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Did you get some new tech during the Prime Big Deal days? New toy joy is a wonderful thing, but once you've put the Prime packaging in the recycling bin it's time to think about the tech you might have just replaced – or any other tech you've long since stopped using or lost interest in. 

It's International E-waste day on Saturday, which is designed to raise awareness of a significant problem: many of us worry about our environmental footprint, but not everybody does anything about it when it comes to electronics.

According to the UN, we'll produce so much e-waste this year that it'll be the equivalent of 8kg for every single person on Earth: in total, that waste will weigh more than the Great Wall of China. And only 17.4% of that waste will be recycled.

Here in the UK, a survey on behalf of refurbished technology marketplace Back Market – who of course have a vested interest in this, but that doesn't negate the study – found that fewer than half of Britons recycle our old technology: just 47% of us. And only 48% of us attempt to extend the lifespan of our devices. 

What is international e-waste day?

International e-waste day is designed to try and persuade more of us to recycle our stuff – and not to do what I do, which is to keep an every more frightening cupboard of confusing cables and kaput keyboards until it gets too much and I take it to the tip.

The theme this year is that if it has a plug, a battery or a cable, you can recycle it – and that means more than just mobile phones and computers. It also includes all your smart home tech, e-bikes and e-scooters, e-cigarettes and smoke detectors, wearable devices and anything else electronic. In total, the typical EU and UK home has 73 such devices in it - but a study for the WEEE Forum found that 13 of them are being hoarded, 9 just aren't used and 4 are broken. In particular devices such as headphones and remote controls are not considered as electronic items and just dumped rather than recycled.

You can find out more about international e-waste day at the WEEE Forum; to find out where to recycle electronics safely and responsibly, check your local council's website. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (