Americans Want to Know: “How Do I Recycle My Computer?”
Aluminum cans? Plastic bottles? Newspapers? Though recycling statistics show that we’ve still got some work to do on diverting wastes away from landfills, you’ve probably got a good idea of how to recycle these common household items. But what about computers and televisions? Paint? Used motor oil? Earth 911’s search statistics for 2009, released today, show that more Americans want to figure out what to do with these hazardous materials… besides tossing them in the trashcan or dumpster.
According to the report, searches for information are up on this flagship site for recycling info: Earth 911 saw a 12% increase in searches in 2009 compared to 2008, with an average of “almost 7000 daily inquiries.” Many of those people wanted to know how to dispose of home electronics responsibly: “Electronics” topped the list of categories searched by a pretty heavy margin, and computers, batteries, and televisions were the top three searches for product recycling. Electronics also won in a state-by-state breakdown: it was the top category search for every one of the top ten states from which queries came.
Computer recycling: a marketing opportunity?
This data’s interesting in and of itself, but I immediately thought that computer and electronics manufacturers might want to see this as further evidence that more Americans understand the risks posed by sending these products to landfills, and want better end-of-life options. Some companies are already on board here: Nokia, for instance, got a “Good” score for take-back policies and recycling information in the most recent version of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, and a handful of other companies (Dell, Apple, and Motorola, for instance) received “Partially Good” scores.
If consumers are searching for this information, wouldn’t offering better take-back provisions and recycling information help these companies grow their market share? Especially if it didn’t increase costs dramatically? And wouldn’t local recycling companies see an increase in business if they offered more convenient e-recycling options (I know it’s kind of a pain here…)?
Do you have access to good e-waste recycling? Let us know about it… and how you think it affects your behavior in this area. Clearly, people want these options…