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Experts urge action on privacy to boost e-waste recycling rates

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 10:35:27

A study from Repic has revealed that over two thirds of people are worried about the security implications of selling old smartphones and recycling other forms of consumer electronics.

Let’s Recycle reports that more than 1,000 people participated in this survey, with 33 per cent stating that they generally chose to hang on to unwanted tech because they feared that their privacy might be compromised if they disposed of it sustainably.

This is the latest piece of research which shows that the recycling industry needs to do more to reassure people that their smartphones and other devices will be handled in a responsible way, without leading to data theft.

Interestingly, the analysis revealed that the under-30s are the most sensitive to privacy issues, with 76 per cent of people in this age group stating that they were cautious about mobile phone and e-waste recycling as a result.

Troublingly, there is also evidence that some generations of consumers are less concerned about the integrity of private information stored on digital devices, with middle aged people far less likely to delete data before they get rid of an unwanted gadget than their younger counterparts.

Report spokesperson, Mark Burrows-Smith, said that there was a clear need to educate tech users about the benefits of e-waste recycling as well as the security implications of parting ways with old hardware that may contain sensitive data.

The good news is that just a fifth of respondents said that they were not sure where they could access electronics recycling services locally, which indicates that awareness about the facilities which are available is increasing. Thirty four per cent said that they regularly took advantage of online services which allow them to sell unwanted smartphones and other devices, with a similar proportion donating them to charitable organisations.




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