Electronic waste recovery in Finland: Consumers' perceptions towards recycling and re-use of mobile phones

Waste Manag. 2015 Nov;45:374-84. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.02.031. Epub 2015 Mar 18.

Abstract

This paper examines consumers' awareness and perceptions towards mobile phone recycling and re-use. The results are based on a survey conducted in the city of Oulu, Finland, and analysed in the theoretical framework based on the theories of planned behaviour (TPB) and value-belief-norm (VBN). The findings indicate that consumers' awareness of the importance and existence of waste recovery system is high; however, awareness has not translated to recycling behaviour. The survey reveals that 55% of respondents have two or more unused mobile phones at homes. The more phones stored at homes, the more often reasons 'I don't know where to return' and/or 'have not got to do it yet' were mentioned. This indicates that proximity and the convenience of current waste management system are inadequate in promoting the return of small waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). To facilitate re-use, and the highest level of recovery, consumers will need to be committed to return end-of-use electronics to WEEE collection centres without delays. Further, the supply and demand of refurbished mobile phones do not meet at this moment in Finland due to consumer's storing habits versus expectations of recent features under guarantee and unrealistic low prizes. The study also points out that, in order to change current storing habits of consumers, there is an explicit need for more information and awareness on mobile phone collection in Finland, especially on regarding retailers' take-back.

Keywords: Environmental awareness; Finland; Mobile phone; Re-use; Recycling; WEEE recovery network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Phone*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Electronic Waste / analysis*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Recycling*
  • Waste Management / methods*
  • Young Adult