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What Americans Do With Their Old Phones

Eighty-five percent of Americans are either unaware or do not care that electronic waste (discarded phones, computers, electronics) makes up the fastest-growing waste stream in the United States and the world, according to a new survey by ecoATM Gazelle. In 2017 alone, the world produced over 44 million tons of e-waste valued at over $64 billion. The survey also found that only 25% of Americans recycle electronic devices and a shocking 33% report not recycling at all. Other findings:

Electronics account for 70% of landfills’ toxic waste. If left in landfills, the chemicals and elements of electronic waste such as lead, mercury, and barium leach into soil and underground waterways, causing detrimental effects to the environment.

While many Americans said they were comfortable buying secondhand cars (48%), clothing (31%) and even furniture (26%), less than 10% of U.S. consumers choose to purchase pre-owned electronic devices such as computers or cell phones.

A surprising 67% of U.S. consumers report never having owned a pre-owned cell phone. This is despite over half of consumers (58%) saying that owning the latest model wasn’t important to them, and 74% of consumers claiming they would not be able to tell if somebody had a pre-owned device.

50% of Americans say they are willing to pay more for an item from a business whose values align with their environmental, political and sustainable beliefs, yet most respondents have not considered pre-owned, an option that allows consumers to pay less and protect the environment.