Importance of Ecycling: CEA Study says More People are Recycling Electronics

Recycling – A new study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® shows electronics recycling receives continued support among consumers. According to the Recycling and Reuse Study, 2014 Edition, more than four-fifths of U.S. adults (82 percent) say recycling their old electronics is important or very important to them, and one-third of consumers surveyed (30 percent) recycled electronics products in the last year, a four percent increase from 2012.

“We’re pleased to see continued consumer support for electronics recycling, especially as the power of innovation brings new and better products to market faster than ever,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Our industry has more than doubled the amount of consumer electronics recycling over the past three years. And this study makes it clear that our ongoing consumer engagement and recycling education programs are more important than ever.”

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

  • Three in five (59 percent) U.S. 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;
  • While a solid 82 percent of consumers say recycling their old electronics is important or very important to them, that total is four percent lower than in 2012 (86 percent);
  • The percentage of consumer recycling is up, but so is the percentage of those who discard – 18 percent of consumers say they discarded electronics devices in the trash during the last year, a six point increase from 2012.

“Whether it’s through our electronics recycler locator, public service announcements, educational partnerships or the thousands of electronics collection locations our industry sponsors, CEA is committed to empowering consumers to recycle their used electronics,” said Walter Alcorn, CEA vice president, environmental affairs and industry sustainability. “Our industry has now picked up the recycling tab for billions of pounds of old devices – a truly unprecedented effort led by manufacturers of televisions, computers and similar consumer electronics devices.”

Through, CEA helps consumers learn how to live green, buy green and recycle responsibly, while helping lower their energy consumption, shrink their carbon footprint and reduce waste. Visit the website to find the closest responsible electronics recycler to your home and learn more about CEA’s recycling curriculum, developed in partnership with Young Minds Inspired.

The Recycling and Reuse Study, 2014 Edition was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete report is available at no cost to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the report in the CEA Store.

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