Buy second hand

Your tech is likely to be some of the most resource intensive items you own. Electronic equipment requires huge amounts of energy, water, chemicals and precious resources like gold, copper and aluminium to make. Buying items second hand has huge environmental benefits.


If you look at the energy consumption of a typical desktop computer over its entire life, half of that energy will be used during manufacture, so before it’s even out of the box. It’s an absolute no-brainer to give that computer as long a life as possible. By buying a second-hand or refurbished, you are making a genuine saving on carbon emissions. You’ll sidestep adding the electronic waste (e-waste) mountain too. The UK currently produces 1.45 million tonnes of e-waste every year!

Laptops, mobiles, tablets and computers all use scarce, non-renewable raw materials. So if you finally decide you really do need to upgrade, try to pass your tech on to someone who needs it.

Buying second hand reduces the emissions associated with making and transporting items

We tend to keep second hand clothes for longer, keeping vintage/pre-loved clothes for 5.4 years on average compared to 4 years for off the peg purchases.

Second hand items are cheaper than new (apart from some sought after vintage items that are likely to continue to hold their value)


MoneySavingExpert shares useful tips about what to look for and where to buy used and refurbished phones.

Emmaus Reboot is a local social enterprise that wipes, refurbishes and resells used computers and The Centre for Computing History takes donations of a huge range of tech that might be archived, used to teach repair, refurbished to be sold or even out on display.

GAME and CeX stores buy and sell tech and games. One advantage of buying from a shop is that you should get a warranty. John Lewis tend to give longer warranties than many other sellers.

Local online purchases are often good value too e.g. Gumtree but you won’t get a warranty.

If you want to buy a new mobile, consider a Fairphone. This modular device is and easily repairable and more ethically produced than others.

Check with the manufacturers – some, like Apple and Dell offer refurbished products.

Organise a clothes swap/jumble sale and buy/swap stuff at it