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Tech users feel unsure about the best way to recycle old tech

Tech users feel unsure about the best way to recycle old tech

May 27, 2022

A new study by computer refurbishment specialists, EuroPC, has revealed that over four in five (82%) UK adults who live in a household with at least five tech devices feel unsure about the best way to recycle their undesired electronics.

As part of www.europc.co.uk’s ongoing investigation into the relationship between refurbished technology and sustainability, a new survey of 2,100 UK adults who live in a household with at least five tech devices has revealed that 82% of tech users – over four in five – still feel unsure about the best way to recycle their undesired electronics.

The survey found that 60% of UK tech users would like to improve their carbon footprint by recycling technology more responsibly.

When faced with a device that they no longer use, respondents said they are more likely to hoard the device (77%), throw it in the bin (63%) or sell it (48%), rather than recycle it (8%). Of those who do not already recycle their devices, 87% of UK tech users would recycle electronics properly if they were well-informed. Charging cables (89%) are the most common item Britons have lying around their homes, while 2% admitted holding on to Tamagotchis.

Respondents were also asked what they are most likely to do with a tech device once they no longer use it, and the most likely courses of action were revealed to be:

  1. Hoarding the device – 77%
  2. Throwing the device in the bin – 63%
  3. Selling the device – 48%
  4. Donating the device – 32%
  5. Recycling the device – 18%

Of those who admitted they do not already recycle devices that they have no further use for, an overwhelming 87% said they would consider recycling electronics properly provided they were more well-informed on the subject, its benefits and the dangers of e-waste.

What is more, delving into the demographics of the participants who took part in the survey, it was found that Generation Z (those who selected that they were born between 1981-1996) are the most knowledgeable when it comes to recycling tech, with almost half admitting they know how to properly recycle old tech and regularly do so, rather than just throwing their old devices away (49%).

In contrast, 28% of participants in Gen X (1965-1980) said they’ve never recycled tech before and do not know how to, while a further 15% even admitted they weren’t aware that their local recycling centres collected small electrical items.

When participants were asked which old tech they have lying around their homes, the most common items were listed as follows:

  • Charging cables – 89%
  • Phones – 71%
  • Consoles and gaming devices – 63%
  • PC equipment (mouses, keyboards and screens) – 52%
  • Laptops – 47%

Some of the other items respondents cited included DVD players (21%), portable CD players (16%) and even Tamagotchis (2%).

Alan Gilmour, Managing Director at www.europc.co.uk commented: “You might only associate recycling of any kind with helping the environment, and while recycling old tech and all other electronics definitely does help the environment, there are some other benefits that you might not immediately think of. For one, recycling old tech devices can salvage precious metals like gold, copper and steel. These metals can be used to make a variety of different items, from crucial medical equipment to jewellery! If you have an old phone rotting (not literally – hopefully) in a drawer dedicated to junk, try to picture a shiny gold ring whenever you next rummage for something.

“Properly recycling your electronics also creates more jobs. As weird as it may sound, consider how we sort through reusable materials. With people, of course! Recycling your tech help keeps the recycling business in good shape.”

Categories : World Focus

Tags : Electronics Europc Recycling Technology UK Users

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