New Back-to-School Poll: Student Millennials Get Passing Grades on the Why and How of Rechargeable Battery Recycling

Results illuminate potential to close the gap between knowledge and action

iStock_000017373299MediumATLANTA, August 28, 2013—A new back-to-school poll shows that student Millennials know why it’s important to recycle rechargeable batteries and how to do it. With 58% planning to get rid of at least one device by the end of the calendar year, there is an opportunity for them to make great improvements in the environment by embracing their knowledge and acting upon it.

The study, commissioned by Call2Recycle®, North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program, conducted online by Harris Interactive® (July 31-August 2, 2013 and August 5-7, 2013, among 420 adults ages 18-24) and released today, also shows that student Millennials (self-identified as students) have more than just a general knowledge of environmentally responsible actions: they score high in understanding issues related to products that are powered by rechargeable batteries, an often misunderstood recyclable.

Environmental Impact

Student Millennials—part of the larger group of Millennials often called the “Green Generation1”—are highly mobile and as such are heavy users of wireless products such as cellphones, e-readers, laptops and tablets, all of which contain rechargeable batteries. Conducted at the onset of the 2013 back-to-school season, the study reveals insights about student Millennials’ knowledge and behavior with regard to recycling the rechargeable batteries that power their mobile lifestyle:

  • 35% will replace at least two rechargeable devices by the end of the calendar year

  • 7% will replace FOUR or MORE rechargeable devices.

Knowledge and Behaviors Related to Recycling Devices with Rechargeable Batteries

  • Nearly one-quarter know how to recycle rechargeable batteries but don’t always do it

  • About one-in-four admit that they do not know how to properly dispose of rechargeable batteries, but 19% are curious to learn about it.

Convenient rechargeable battery recycling options do exist nationwide. Through the Call2Recycle network, more than 30,000 retailers, municipalities and businesses serve as voluntary drop-off locations. Many of these locations—including RadioShack, Staples and Best Buy—are primary shopping venues for student Millennials as they purchase back-to-school supplies.

Environmental Awareness Associated with Rechargeable Batteries

When asked about the most important reasons for properly recycling rechargeable batteries, student Millennials understand the broader environmental impact.

Nearly seven in ten (69%) student Millennials believe that the health of future generations is among the most important reasons for recycling batteries. Approximately two-thirds believe reducing waste in landfills (67%) and reusing recycled materials in other products (64%) are essential benefits related to recycling rechargeable batteries. More than half (51%) find that the reduction in the use of raw materials is critical.

“Although student Millennials may not recycle as much as other demographics, we are encouraged that they do understand how and why rechargeable batteries should be properly recycled,” says Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. “Through continued efforts with our dedicated collection sites, we hope to help close the gap and motivate students to adopt more environmentally responsible behaviors.”

With 322 million wireless products in use in the U.S.2, all powered by rechargeable batteries—and mobile, connected devices expected to increase by 100 percent by 20203—responsible recycling of both the battery and the device will divert potentially harmful heavy metals and e-waste from the waste stream.

For more battery stats, click here:  /wp-content/uploads/Call2Recycle-mediaBatteryRecyclingStatSheet.pdf

Survey Methodology: 

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Call2Recycle from July 31-August 2, 2013 and August 5-7, 2013 among 420 adults ages 18-24, of whom 199 self- identified as students. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jen Childress at (678) 218-4580 or [email protected].

Sources:  1 AdAge,  2 CTIA, 3 GSMA

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