Consumers Want Incentives to Recycle Mobile Phones

Mobile phones, as a form of e-waste, can take up a lot of landfill given the huge volume of units on the planet. Recycling them is certainly a way to go, but how motivated are individual consumers to do so? Very motivated – provided the price is right, according to a summary of some research findings from an ABI Research piece first published in October.

ABI found that, much like how consumers handle e-waste in general, altruism is not necessarily the main motivation for recycling handsets. The firm’s survey found just below 40 percent of people contacted said they’d recycled “outdated mobile handsets.” Of those, less than five percent “recycled their handsets without receiving compensation of any kind.” Of those who did get some form of compensation, charitable contribution tax deductions were the number one incentive.

image via Rice University

image via Rice University

Adding to this interesting personal motivation is the notion that almost all who said they’d not yet recycled a handset “were prepared to return handsets to an operator’s store, to a charity, to a refurbishing company or to the manufacturer” – but only in return for some compensation, either cash, store credit, or tax deduction. “The message is clear,” commented ABI Research industry analyst Michael Morgan in a statement. “Many consumers in the US are prepared to help the environment by recycling their old handsets, but only if there is a financial incentive to do so. Virtue is not seen as its own reward in this case.”

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.