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Lack of trust frustrates phone recycling in the USA

United States – Some 60% of Americans don’t recycle their old mobile phones either because they don’t know where to take them or don’t believe personal data will be destroyed, according to the results of a new poll released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) at the annual E-Scrap Conference held last week in Orlando.

ISRI president Robin Wiener comments: ‘The results of this poll fall in line with the recent report by the US International Trade Commission indicating that only 25% of all household used electronics products are recycled.’

In the online survey, people were asked to provide the main reason why they hadn’t recycled their old mobile phones. Of the 923 respondents, 30% said they didn’t know where to take their phone for recycling, 29% were concerned about the safety of personal information, 21% said they might need it later, and 20% said they just never got around to it.

Wiener urges reluctant recyclers to find a certified electronics recycler because this approach ‘guarantees that all personal data in the phone will be destroyed and gives the phone a second life either through the recovery of scrap commodities or refurbishment and use by those in this country or abroad who might not otherwise have access to such technology’.

For every million mobile phones, 35 274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered and reused, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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