UK public making 'mountain of technology waste'

Consumer confusion around the recycling options available for old electronics has led to 50 per cent of UK consumers failing to correctly recycle old technology.

According to research conducted for Dell on the recycling habits of 5,000 consumers across the UK (1,000 respondents), France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Germans are proving the savviest (80 per cent regularly recycle electronics).

In general, awareness levels of electronic manufacturers’ recycling schemes and government initiatives such as the WEEE Directive, the British again fall behind, and are the least aware of such initiatives or legislation compared to consumers elsewhere in Europe. When it comes to understanding the importance of correct technology recycling, UK consumers in fact claim to be more influenced by the media than by government legislation.

However, while Brits are less informed about the correct procedures for electronics recycling, and show little interest in the available recycling initiatives and legislation to do so, this does not mean that they make the worst recyclers overall. In fact, the level of UK consumers who claim to regularly recycle paper, plastics, and glass, is higher than the European average, according to the Dell study.

Consumer recycling behaviour is also found to vary across the UK dependent on region. Respondents in Scotland and London are found to care more about the implications of improper technology disposal, with 4 per cent of consumers in each location claiming to recycle electronics more than any other category of waste (4 per cent of respondents versus a 1 per cent average across the UK).

The Welsh on the other hand are more complacent - or less informed about how to recycle technology - with consumers there recycling electronics the least often of all UK regions (17 per cent of Welsh respondents have never recycled technology).
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Photo: Greenpeace

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