Recycling computers Recycling survey

Our research

2,190 members of the Which? online panel were surveyed about their unused computer equipment (from 25 October to 12 November 2007).

Hoarding old technology

According to our survey, Which? members have so many computer cables lying around that, if laid end-to-end, they’d stretch all the way from London to Manchester. We also estimate that 180,000 unused computers are sitting in homes and a further 160,000 monitors are similarly gathering dust.

Estimated quantities of computer equipment hoarded by Which? members.
Item Quantity


mobile phone
Mobile phones


ethernet cable
Spare cables


Table notes

Our estimates of how many unused items are being stored in Which? member’s homes. These are based on the proportions who have the items at home multiplied by the number of Which? members

Getting rid of old computers

We asked Which? members what they'd be most likely to do if they wanted to get rid of an old PC and monitor.

How Which? members would get rid of an old PC and monitor
Action taken Percentage of members
Find somewhere to recycle them 32% 32%
Give them away to a family member or friend 28% 28%
Take them to the local tip 15% 15%
Store them somewhere in the home 13% 13%
Something else 10% 10%
Don’t know 2% 2%

A third of members (32%) would find somewhere to recycle their old pc and monitor – women and those aged 55 and over are more likely to say they'd do this (39% women vs 28% of men, 35% those over 55 vs 27% those under 55).

Just under three in ten (28%) would give them away to a family member or friend – men are more likely than women to say they would do this (30% vs 25% women).

One in ten (10%) would do something else – mentions included donating it to charity or using the Freecycle website.

Men are also more likely than women to say they'd take them to the local tip (17% vs 12% women).