Just in time for Earth Day, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) is reminding Canadians to recycle their old cell phones, by releasing a report that indicates nearly half still have at least one device they are no longer using still lying around.

In fact, not only did 48 per cent of respondents to the 2015 Understanding Cell Phone Recycling Behaviours survey, which the CWTA released on April 20, tell researchers they had at least one cellphone in storage, almost a third were storing two, and 22 per cent said they had three or more.

Despite our apparent propensity for hoarding old phones, the survey also discovered that support for cell phone recycling was extremely high, with 95 per cent of Canadians either supporting or “somewhat supporting” the recycling of old, unused or unwanted phones, and 81 per cent saying they would be willing to recycle or return their old phones – a significant increase over the 63 per cent who said they would be willing to do so in 2014.

The survey was commissioned by the CWTA and conducted by Nanos Research, which polled 3,000 Canadians (300 in each province) between Dec. 2-15 last year.

Other findings from the survey:

  • More respondents from Alberta than anywhere else – 55 per cent – had a cell phone in storage;
  • Between the various demographics, older Canadians (55 and up) were least likely to have a cell phone in storage, with 38 per cent saying they did;
  • Asked why they had kept their old phones, one quarter of respondents (25 per cent) simply said they didn’t know what else to do with it, while 18 per cent kept it as a backup or extra, and 12 per cent kept it for the numbers and/or information they might need to pull from it someday;
  • On average, respondents had used their previous cell phone for 33.6 months before acquiring their current one, with younger Canadians (between the ages of 18 and 34) keeping them for a shorter average period of time (28.4 months) and older Canadians keeping them for longer (37.5 months);
  • The most popular ways to dispose of an old phone among respondents, in order, were: store it (41 per cent), give it away (16 per cent), recycle it (12 per cent), or trade it into their carrier (10 per cent).

The CWTA runs a free cell phone recycling program, Recycle My Cell, which offers more than 3,500 drop-off locations across Canada, along with printable postage-paid labels on its website that can be used to mail in unused devices for free. For more information, check out the infographic below (click for a larger version).

Toronto Future Ready Infographic

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