Compliance scheme Repic has called for improved data collection after research showed that young people were far more likely to sell their waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) than recycle them.
A poll of 1,000 homeowners revealed that those aged under 29 valued their outdated or broken products at an average of £700 to £800 – higher than any other age bracket.
Young people favoured online channels such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to sell items such as televisions, iPads and Kindles, according to Repic, which commissioned the survey.
Quality, condition and data security were all key considerations in choosing what to do with a product people had grown out of.
Repic said a growing second-hand market for WEEE meant that selling a new electrical product did not always result in an old item appearing in waste collections.
The body called for better data capture on both new equipment and WEEE flows outside the existing producer compliance system.
Chief executive Mark Burrows-Smith said: “Technology is increasingly changing our lives, and our industry needs to understand and be responsive to technology, economic and behavioural changes, and their interconnectedness.
“The findings show us that there is much left to do in building meaningful strategies for better data capture. Ultimately, the targets still need to be met and we must come up with ways of meeting them. And the starting point is through gaining greater intelligence.”
A white paper commissioned by Repic last year proposed a new method to calculate the amount of WEEE placed on the UK market in order to set “more realistic” recycling targets.
The UK missed its 2017 WEEE collection target by almost 100,000 tonnes, leading to concerns that the methodology for setting targets is flawed.