Canadian authorities say the percentage of households disposing of unwanted computers, printers, TVs, audio/visual equipment and cell phones continued to drop last year.
Statistics Canada (StatCan), the country’s census agency, recently published the results of its Households and the Environment Survey, which is conducted every two years. The survey asked Canadians how many unwanted devices they had during 2021 and whether and how they disposed of them.
The survey found computers, TVs and cell phones were the three most common types of electronics households had that they wanted to get rid of. The following were some takeaways from the data on those three device types:
Computers: 15% of households had an unwanted computer to dispose of, down from 16% in 2019, 20% in 2017 and 26% in 2015. Of those with an unwanted computer last year, 66% took the device to a depot or drop-off center for recycling, 21% still had the computer at the time of their interview, 17% donated or otherwise gave it away, 6% returned it to a retailer, 5% repaired or sold it, 4% put it in the trash can and the remaining 1% did something else with it. (The figures above don’t total 100% because households could select multiple answers.)
TVs: 14% had unwanted TVs to dispose of, down from 15%, 20% and 26% in prior surveys. Of those, 69% dropped the TV off for recycling, 16% donated or otherwise gave it away, 12% still had it at the time of the interview, 5% returned it to the retailer, 4% put it in the garbage, 3% repaired or resold it and 2% did something else with it.
Cell phones: 14% had unwanted cell phones, down from 17%, 17% and 21% during prior surveys. Of those, 40% dropped the phone off for recycling, 38% still had it during the time of the StatCan interview, 12% returned it to a retailer, 12% donated it or gave it away, 6% repaired or sold it and 3% put it in the trash. (The data on households doing “other” with their unwanted phones was considered too unreliable to publish.)
Overall, a write-up from StatCan noted, 38% of Canadian households reported having at least one type of unwanted electronic device to dispose of. That was down 5 percentage points from 2019.
The survey also found some types of devices were more likely to land in the landfill than others. That was especially true for microwaves. Of the households that said they had a microwave to dispose of last year, 10% said they put it in the trash. Equivalent landfill disposal numbers for other devices were as follows: 7% for landline phones, 6% for a/v equipment, 6% for printers, 4% for computers, 4% for TVs and 3% for cell phones.
The 2021 Households and the Environment survey polled about 38,000 households.
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