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Younger Mobile Device Owners More Likely to Hoard Old Smartphones, Tablets Than People Over 50, Says Survey

First Posted: Jun 04, 2014 05:00 PM EDT
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Millennials are guilty of hoarding old smartphones that could be worth money, according to a nationwide survey by network of automated recycling kiosks.

ecoATM revealed younger device owners, categorized in the 18 to 49 years old age group, are more likely to hold onto obsolete smartphone and tablets than their older counterparts -- aged 50 and older.  The younger device hoarders were 25 percent more likely to keep an older device than the 9 percent reported for the older gadget owners.

Overall, the ecoATM survey found all age groups have kept their older devices. Half of the device owners, however, did not know the older gadgets could translate into a profit. Of the general respondents, 45 percent of smartphone owners, 44 percent of cell phone owners, and 34 percent of MP3 player owners were unaware about financial returns if their device was recycled or cashed in.

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"We know that Americans believe in the value of recycling, but there's a disconnect between believing and doing, as many don't know where to recycle their old cell phones and tablets," said ecoATM Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Bowles.

ecoATM also asked where at home would their older device be located. According to respondents, the most popular location were closets with 53 percent, boxes with 42 percent, and junk drawers with 41 percent.

A reason for keeping an older device, according to the survey, was the sentimental value the gadget provided to the user. ecoATM revealed 37 percent were nostalgic about their device while 23 percent felt "overwhelmed" or "embarrassed," which garnered 15 percent of the responses.

"Again, it's the same younger group of device owners that feels most attached to their older gadgets with 42 percent stating that they associate feelings of nostalgia with these devices," noted ecoATM, adding 29 percent of the over 50 age group felt the same nostalgia for their gadget.

The ecoATM study also found many to hold on to their device "for years" after they're no longer used. The survey noted 18 percent, or one in five respondents, admit their oldest device has been around longer than a "wide variety" of items such as a kitchen appliance, pair of curtains or set of bed sheets.

ecoATM added, "Unfortunately, more than one in 10 device owners (12 percent) incorrectly believe that placing old devices in any recycling bin is a viable option for disposal, and 12 percent would consider throwing an old gadget in the garbage after upgrading, contributing toxic e-waste to landfills."

The ecoATM survey was conducted between March 10 and March 17 with 1,018 people participating, nationwide.

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