According to a Forsa survey, a clear majority of German citizens can imagine a deposit on cell phones in order to ensure the recycling of valuable raw materials. Broken or old devices often gather dust in drawers or end up illegally in household waste, the German Federal Environment Foundation (DBU) announced on Sunday in Osnabrück. The digital association Bitkom estimate that almost 200 million cell phones are lying around unused in this country. They contained valuable raw materials such as copper, cobalt and tantalum as well as silver, gold and nickel or rare earths. According to the representative survey on behalf of the DBU, a total of 87 percent of those questioned consider a cell phone deposit to be “very good” or “good”.
“Ex and hopping mentality”
“Electronic waste is becoming a massive problem in Germany and around the world,” said DBU General Secretary Alexander Bonde. The citizens’ wish was also to be understood as a “wake-up call to the legislature”. In order to stop the depletion of resources, incentives for the reuse and further use of raw materials are needed. It is important to get away from an “ex and hopping mentality”.
When asked about the repairability of products such as household appliances, cell phones and televisions, 91 percent said that repairs are often not financially worthwhile because they are expensive. A large majority of respondents (84 percent) were of the opinion that manufacturers designed the products in such a way that they only last a little longer than the statutory warranty period. Three quarters of those surveyed stated that it was too time-consuming to find a suitable provider for repairs.
Dramatic situation with electronic waste
Bonde spoke of a dramatic e-waste situation. Almost 54 million tons were generated worldwide in 2019 – from monitors to cell phones to refrigerators. This is around 7.3 kilograms per capita per year globally and around 10.3 kilograms in Germany. In the case of cell phones, for example, around 80 percent of the components are recyclable.