Are we a nation of hoarders? A whiff of a hard Brexit suggests this could be a response to anxiety. The Guardian says a quarter of UK voters are stockpiling tinned food, toilet paper, and medicines. They have also been delaying big ticket purchases and travel plans.
Will it be “take cover behind the loo rolls and pass the tranquilizers”? I hope not. However, I do hope this proves the point that compulsive hoarders are like the rest of us; extreme in one or other way and generally not troubling anyone.
Moreover, Lonely People Are Not in the Majority
The website Resource (which aims to promote waste as a resource) advises 51% of UK households have at least one unused electronic device. The Royal Society of Chemistry adds this could be a mobile phone, computer, smart TV, MP3 player, or e-reader.
They surveyed 2,253 people to find this out. Of those surveyed, 45% admitted to having as many as five unused electronic devices stashed away at home. Furthermore 82% said they had no plans to sell or recycle them. Those extinct gadgets are unlikely to appreciate in value, so what is going on?
The Problem is More Severe among Young People
Resource says 52% of UK youngsters aged between 16 and 24 have 10 or more gadgets at home. They clearly couldn’t enjoy them all at the same time. So why are there so many of them?
When asked, 37% replied they were worried someone could hack into their information if they let them go. Alarmingly, 29% claimed “they didn’t know where to go to recycle old devices”. What planet have they been visiting?
Are We Camped Out on a Goldmine of Rare Materials?
Robert Parker, CEO of Royal Society of Chemistry is alarmed about this trend. Britain is squatting on a heap of scarce materials America and China are squabbling over.
The government gave Birmingham University £5 million to recover rare metals from magnets. Your old phone could contain gold and arsenic. Perhaps it’s time to surrender an old passion to a shredding machine.
If This Is Hoarding How to We Break the Cycle?
This is a tough walnut to crack. I have several old phones and at least one camera somewhere. The phone batteries are almost dead. The memory is broken on the one camera I could find. Perhaps my Nokia ‘brick’ has collector value. But the rest are pure junk.
I can’t bear the thought of consigning these old friends to the trash. They were state of art when I purchased them. The excitement of unwrapping them still lingers. If I junked them I would be shutting a window into my past.
Am I a hoarder? From one to another, yes. But I don’t believe this affects my lifestyle. I doubt I will obey the clarion call to hand over my gold and arsenic. I’d rather bury my devices decently in the garden.
Centuries later a metal detectorist may discover them, and figure out how to access the camera memory. My images could end up on the front page of Nat Geo. My hoard could be worth something. I’ll hang on to it if you don’t mind.