Brief

Greenpeace survey: Phone manufacturers should take more responsibility for recycling

Dive Brief:

  • A new survey conducted by Greenpeace East Asia across six countries found that nearly half of respondents think phone manufacturers should be responsible for making their products recyclable.
  • Four in five respondents said it's important that a phone can be easily repaired. In China and South Korea, 65% of respondents were more likely to have had a phone repaired as compared to 28% in the U.S. and 23% in Germany.
  • Approximately 90% of all respondents said "designed to last" is an important feature for any phone. Four in five people also said that new phones shouldn't be produced using hazardous chemicals.

Dive Insight:

This survey is part of Greenpeace's True Innovation campaign which aims to make technology more sustainable and includes repair tutorials for major phone models. In 2014, the United Nations University estimated that personal information and communication technology devices — including phones — were responsible for 3 million metric tons of e-waste.

A recent report from the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER), commissioned by the Closed Loop Fund, estimated that U.S. consumers currently have 3.8 billion devices of all kinds in their households. Many of these devices are already out of use or will be soon as new models become available. Phones are among the biggest culprits as consumers eagerly switch over to the newest models that companies provide.

The NCER report also predicted that devices will become smaller and contain more components within the next five years. While these phones are challenging to break down, both consumers and recyclers stand to benefit if someone can find a better way to do it. Companies such as Apple have received attention for their efforts around this issue but the reality is that a better system is needed. The other alternative is for manufacturers to stop introducing new models so quickly, which seems unlikely.

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Filed Under: Corporate News Recycling Waste Diversion