November 19, 2009
The volume of obsolete electronics equipment entering the world’s landfills continues to rise and is expected to reach 73 million metric tons by 2010, placing a significant burden on solid waste management systems. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans published by Pike Research, consumer awareness of the e-waste threat is increasing, and 76% of respondents stated that recycling is the most appropriate way to handle unused, broken, or obsolete electronics equipment at the end of its useful life.
“The consumer is an integral link in the chain for electronics recycling and e-waste management,” says managing director Clint Wheelock. “In order for the industry to achieve its goals, consumer values, attitudes, and behavior will need to support responsible handling of end-of-life electronics equipment. Popular sentiment is also essential to support the political will of governments as they strive to mitigate e-waste issues through legislation and regulation.”
Key findings of Pike Research’s survey include the following consumer insights:
- 37% of consumers felt that electronics recycling should be free, and an additional 35% stated that electronics should be collected and processed as part of a curbside recycling program.
- Only 14% felt that the cost of electronics recycling should be borne by consumers at the points of purchase or recycling. 10% supported the concept of “producer responsibility” where the manufacturer pays, an approach increasingly being adopted by many OEMs.
- The average consumer has 2.8 pieces of unused, broken, or obsolete electronics equipment in their home or storage area.
- The average consumer surveyed estimated that the cost of collecting, hauling, demanufacturing, and recycling a single piece of used electronics equipment is $12, however Pike Research’s analysis indicates that the true cost is more than $20.
Pike Research’s study, “Electronics Recycling and E-Waste Issues”, provides a comprehensive analysis of the global e-waste landscape. The report includes SWOT analysis for key sectors, analysis of consumer survey results, and forecasts for e-waste generation and processing volumes through 2025. The consumer survey referenced above was a structured, web-based questionnaire conducted among a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of U.S. consumers. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, Corporate Sustainability, and Building Efficiency sectors. For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.