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More American consumers admit to ‘green guilt’

United States – A survey commissioned by major US battery and mobile phone recycler Call2Recycle has revealed that 57% of respondents ‘€˜possess old electronics they know they need to dispose of.’€™ Of all consumers surveyed, 29% admitted to feeling ‘€˜green guilt’€™ as they tend to stockpile instead of recycling ‘€“ more than double the figure recorded in similar research in 2009, when only 12% expressed concern about the issue.

Mobile phones are the items most frequently hidden away at the bottom of the cupboard, representing 46% of the total, the survey reports. Also high on the list of electrical equipment that is no longer used but fails to go back into the loop are outdated computers (33%), television sets (25%), cordless phones (19%) and rechargeable batteries (17%).

This reluctance to recycle domestically correlates with the trend in both US business and the industrial sector. Reasons were found to vary, ranging from the public ‘€˜not knowing what to do’€™ (44%) and ‘€˜not having enough time’€™ (26%) to local stores ‘€˜not offering any programmes’€™ (19%) or the people believing that recycling ‘€˜would not make a difference anyway’€™ (10%).

Call2Recycle CEO and President Carl Smith interpreted the rise in recycling guilt as a ‘€˜positive sign’€™, indicating that ‘€˜many Americans feel an obligation to recycle and share responsibility’€™. He added: ‘€˜Whether due to the recovering economy or for other reasons, consumers are stimulated to think about the proper disposal of old electronics and are conscious of the impact today’€™s actions have on the state of our planet.’€™

Consumers are not prepared to shoulder all the blame, though. Mr Smith pointed out: ‘€˜When asked about extended producer responsibility, more than half (52%) of Americans say they believe that manufacturers should bear the cost of recycling their product after consumers are finished with it. But they’€™re almost equally split about their willingness to pay more for an item if a manufacturer took care of its proper disposal.’€™

Of the 38% who said they would accept an on-cost, most were female. A further 19% did not consider it worthwhile to spend their own money on more comprehensive recycling, but 22% said they would be more inclined to recycle e-waste if there were discounts or other rewards available.

The online survey assessed the views of almost 1,050 adults.


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