Life cycle extension of mobile phones: an exploration with focus on the end-consumer

Odette Penners, Janjaap Semeijn, Allard C.R. van Riel, Wim Lambrechts


Aim: All mobile phones will eventually become obsolete and should be collected and recycled in order to recover their high content of both dangerous and valuable materials. End-consumers play a key role in these processes as the collection and recycle systems cannot work properly without their contribution. Therefore, this exploratory study investigates how Dutch end-consumers can be stimulated to return their used mobile phones.

Design / Research methods: the factors influencing consumers’ propensity to return and recycle obsolete mobile phones are examined. The results are based on a survey conducted among end-consumers of mobile phones in the Netherlands.

Conclusions / findings: There is significant recycling potential as the majority of used mobile phones are simply kept at home. Keeping a used phone as a spare phone and being afraid of privacy disclosures are indicated as main reasons for not taking used phones to a recycling point.

Originality / value of the article: The findings indicate that personal satisfaction from recycling and knowledge or awareness of the potential dangers from not properly returning play a crucial role in influencing the propensity.


end of life, e-waste, mobile phones, recycling, WEEE

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