How to Dispose of Electronics: Here’s What To Do With Your Old Phone

Apparently all over the United States there is a lot of trash talk about recycling electronics, laptops, or cell phones.

New research shows 1 in 5 people admit to throwing their laptops and cellphones in the trash, and 45% of people say they dispose of their old electronics the same way.

What the statistics say: According to ARRIS Composites, which describes itself as a global leader in sustainability-focused manufacturing technology, there are many factors that influence recycling rates.

For example, US residents are falling in love with the latest technology that new gadgets have to offer, with 40% saying they upgraded their electronics even though there is nothing wrong with their current device.

gadget graveyard: Instead of being recycled, old electronics end up in trash cans, desk drawers, boxes stored in basements or in landfills.

“Americans have a lot of technology in their homes, whether it works or not. In fact, 80% of people have two or more working cell phones in their homes. 78% of those surveyed said they had two or more computers in their home, and 41% had two or more tablets,” according to the ARRIS Composites report.

broken electronics: The report noted that it was only the electronics that worked. One in 10 people in a survey that tapped 1,000 residents said they had three broken or unused cell phones at home and nearly 1 in 5 had four or more broken phones. Nearly half (45%) admit to having one or two computers that don’t work or are in use, and 20% say they keep a tablet they don’t use.

Although 86% of Americans say sustainability is important to them, less than half have ever recycled electronics, according to the report.

Besides that:

  • Nearly 20% have thrown old phones/computers in the trash.
  • 21% didn’t know electronics could be recycled.
  • One in 3 never think about electronics sustainability.

Information offered by suggests there are solutions to increase recycling. Several strategies have seen success. Another? Not too much.

Key to success: Information is the power to make decisions, and being assertive leads to action.

ARRIS Composites said it found that recycling electronics was not always easy for residents, with 56% saying it was difficult to know where to pick up devices and 88% saying they would be more likely to recycle if it were easier.

In Utah, the Department of Environmental Quality provides a collection of information about where there are county-by-county recycling opportunities on its website.

In conjunction with Earth Day, each year the Utah Department of Commerce coordinates with the University of Utah for U Recycling Day to collect old electricity, computers, and more.

Zach Whitney, a spokesman for the trade body, said this year’s event transported 20,056 pounds of e-waste.

“It’s fair to say that donations will increase,” he said, adding that the lull during the coronavirus pandemic appeared to strengthen participation this year with many commenting that they were anxiously expecting an easy way to dispose of their belongings.

“It’s highly anticipated this year.”

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