Fewer Consumers Say Recycling Electronics is Important


by | Nov 25, 2014

ewasteWhile 82 percent of consumers say recycling their old electronics is important or very important to them, that total is 4 percent lower than in 2012 (86 percent), according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association.

The survey also found one-third of consumers (30 percent) recycled electronics products in the last year, a 4 percent increase from 2012.

Recycling and Reuse Study, 2014 Edition also highlights the influence of family members and friends on consumers’ decisions about the electronics recycling process. According to the survey, of the 53 percent of electronics owners who donated a device during the past year, friends and family were the most common recipients (66 percent). Also, nearly half of consumers (42 percent) first learned how to recycle their old devices by word of mouth from friends, family or co-workers.

The consumer recycling survey, conducted every two years, is part of CEA’s efforts to help guide the industry’s recycling initiatives and support electronics recycling policy. Among the other survey results:

  • Three in five (59 percent) US adults know where they can recycle electronics, a slight decline from 2012 (63 percent) but on par with 2010 results (58 percent);
  • Almost all consumers surveyed (98 percent) say they would travel some distance to recycle their unwanted electronics, and more than one-third (36 percent) would travel more than 10 miles to do so;
  • The percentage of consumer recycling is up, but so is the percentage of those who discard e-waste — 18 percent of consumers say they discarded electronics devices in the trash during the last year, a six point increase from 2012.

Led by Apple, Best Buy, Dell and DirecTV, the consumer electronics (CE) industry set a new record in 2013 by recycling 620 million pounds of electronics in the US, more than double the total of three years ago, according to the Consumer Electronic Association’s Third Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, published in May.

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