REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS
All Annual Reports include PwC Assurance Statements.
10 Years of Consumer Insights into Mobile Use and Recycling 2005-2015. Download a copy of the full report.
- There have been some significant shifts in behaviour over the past ten years. More people are aware of how, why and where to recycle with awareness of mobile phone recycling growing from 46% to 78%.
- More people are recycling with collections increasing from 42 tonne per annum to 74 tonne in 2014-15, peaking at 122 tonne in 2008/09 and the annual available collection rate growing from 14.1% to 53.1% peaking at 53.2% in 2012-13.
- Fewer people are disposing their phones into landfill, decreasing from 9% to 2%. Similarly, with the recent growth of online cash for phone and trade-in programs, more people are selling or trading in their phones as a way of recovering some financial return, up to 6%.
- Consumer desire however to keep old phones remains unchanged (60% even if not working). As a result the number of unused phones stored away in homes has grown from 12 million to over 22.5 million in the past decade. This equates to nearly one phone for every person in Australia.
- Financial incentives, awareness and access continue to be the three main drivers which encourage people to recycle,
with personal financial rewards continuing to be the primary motivation.
- Certain social themes and factors are also relevant within the context of personal motivation and key drivers where it appears from the research that there are essentially four recycling personality types:
- Those that will recycle as soon as they know why, where and how
- Those that need a reminder and an additional reason to recycle
- Those that want a financial reward
- Those that will never recycle, fortunately this represents less than 5% of respondents
- For many people the reason for keeping old phones has been a perceived need to keep a backup for possible future use. But with the advent of the smartphone more people are citing having personal information on a phone and data security concerns, as their reason for keeping their phone. This trend clearly sends an important message to manufacturers, retailers, resellers and recyclers about the growing need to help consumers manage their data safely and securely.
- Technological developments have had both positive and negative
impacts on mobile phone recycling in Australia. They have driven rapid consumption of resources as functionality is enhanced (e.g. introduction of the smartphone) and made past technology redundant as networks
are upgraded (e.g. CDMA).
- Technological developments have also improved resource efficiency through miniaturisation, dematerialisation and use of recycled content. Advances in product design and production methods have also reduced specific types of environmental impacts through the elimination or minimisation of hazardous substances. The avoidance of conflict minerals has also been a noteworthy achievement.
- The storage of old mobile phones is still a significant issue, representing a lost opportunity for reuse and recycling.
There are compelling reasons for industry to look more closely at how it can change or adjust consumer desire to keep a phone as a back-up by:
- Improving the product’s durability and upgradability
- Streamlining repair and replacement of damaged phones
- Making data management and security a simple yet robust process
- Offering innovative and attractive contracts that encourage the return of mobiles (i.e. 1 in 1 out, trade-in, leasing, product-service ownership initiatives).
- Greater engagement and coordination of activities and reporting by all players of the mobile phone lifecycle is also required to improve consumer awareness and access to recycling from manufacturers, network carriers, retailers and service centres/repairers, through to second-hand traders and recyclers.
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