A majority of consumers say they are willing to recycle their cell phones. But they want something in return for it.
According to a survey of 1,000 consumers by ABI Research, 38% claimed to have recycled their outdated handsets. While 70% donated their handsets to charitable contributions (and received tax deductions for them), fewer than 5% recycled their handsets without any compensation of any kind.
"Look at it like bottles and cans. The 5- to 10-cent deposit is what motivates people to recycle," ABI industry analyst Mike Morgan tells Marketing Daily. "If we want to make sure people do it, we have to give them some incentive."
Of the consumers who had not recycled a handset, 98% of consumers said they were prepared to return them to a store, charity or to a refurbishing company or manufacturer, but only if they get some form of compensation in the form of tax deductions, cash or store credit.
"Virtue is not seen as its own reward in this case," Morgan says. "Operators wishing to present a 'green' public face -- and the survey's results also show that consumers increasingly favor those that do -- should factor these attitudes into their recycling [programs]."
Also in the survey: Women were slightly more likely than men to recycle their handsets, and consumers under 40 are less likely to do so than consumers over 40. Some of those numbers might change as awareness of recycling programs grows, Morgan says.
"We're going to see some marketing behind it. The public is a little tentative about green handsets," Morgan says. "The push will continue. But I'm not saying it's going to explode. We're not going to see something like a Motorola Droid ad about it."