Survey Shows Most Unwanted Phones, Tablets, and MP3 Players Are Not Recycled

Americans are well educated on the benefits of recycling bottles, cans, and paper but when it comes to electronics devices all bets are off. The proliferation of cell phones and tablets has led to a growing glut of "e-waste" piling up in people's homes, as well as a lack of understanding about what to do with broken, unwanted, or outdated devices.

According to a recent survey commissioned by ecoATM, which operates 900 electronics recycling kiosks around the country, 57 percent of American device owners have idle cell phones in their homes yet only 22 percent have bothered to recycle cell phones they no longer use.

"Electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of our waste stream, and it's a problem that's only getting worse as more and more new phones and tablets are coming to market each year," said Mark Bowles, founder and chief marketing officer of ecoATM. "Consumers are looking for easy and convenient ways to recycle or sell their unwanted devices, and we must continue to shift behavior when it comes to the responsible disposal of electronics that are no longer being used."

The survey also found that nearly four in 10 device owners have at least two cell phones collecting dust at home, yet less than half of them have sold, recycled, or given away their old phones. Even more telling is that only 46 percent of device owners would even consider recycling old gadgets, even though most believe recycling is safe (80 percent), good for the environment (86 percent), and worth doing (77 percent). Adding insult to injury, one in twelve of those surveyed would have no problem throwing an old gadget in the trash, while nearly one in three would simply put it in a drawer or cabinet at home.

While just over half of the 1,018 device owners surveyed are aware that it is possible to recycle unwanted devices in drop-off bins inside cell phone provider stores (56 percent) or online trade-in programs (55 percent), 80 percent have never heard of recycling kiosks like the ones operated by ecoATM. That said, more than one in 12 mistakenly believe that placing old devices in any recycling bin, including the curbside bins provided by municipalities, is a viable option.

ecoATM kiosks, which are located in shopping malls and select retailers, offers instant cash payments as an incentive to recycle mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players that are no longer being used. The kiosks use patented diagnostics and artificial intelligence to evaluate and determine the value of a device, which can range from a few hundred bucks for a late model smartphone to a few dollars for an old cell phone. As part of the process, the seller’s identity is verified to deter the sale of stolen devices. While old flip phones might not have any monetary value, kiosk users can rest assured knowing that retired devices will be properly recycled.

Ready to get rid of some old, unused gadgets? Visit ecoATM to find a recycling kiosk near you.