Stanford Study Shows the Benefits of e Waste Recycling Fees (Go California!)


World renowned “Stanford Graduate School of Business” recently published the results of a study on the effects of upfront recycling fees for old electronics, and frankly trade2save couldn’t be more excited. In a nut shell, the research strongly suggests that not only will upfront recycling fees encourage the life span of electronics and reduce waste, but actually benefit manufacturers as well, giving them more time to develop new, innovative products.

The study chose to cite California as it’s example of a flat, enforced fee charged to consumers when recycle electronics. Not only does this fee ensure the proper and safe disposal of the e waste by avoiding shady middle man companies (who often export e waste to developing nations) but the enforced charge makes consumers less eager to toss electronics at a whim. In the current economic situation, consumers are getting more spend conscious and this extra recycling fee is just the nudge consumers need to realize that tossing their last generation ipod for a slightly newer model may actually not be worth it.

The study also cited staggering statistics on the wastefulness of global consumers, noting that Americans buy a new cell phone every 18 months and businesses replace entire fleets of PCs every 4 years. By creating such an immediate demand for new products, consumers effectively instigate the “Osborne Effect,” in which the anticipation for new products actually hurts current product and manufacturer sales. Stanford’s Erica Plambeck argues that by extending lifespan and reducing the demand for arbitrary new products (Woo! 3 megapixel phone instead of 2!), electronics “manufacturers are in less of a rush to introduce new products. Consumers anticipate using a product for longer, and so are willing to pay more for it. Because manufacturers have additional development time, they can make larger leaps in both product capabilities and quality, so the new products coming out are substantially better than the previous generation.”

This truly is a win win scenario for all parties involved, so as usual we here at trade2save hope this research gets the recognition it deserves from both consumers and manufacturers! By extending lifespans of electronics and buying/selling/trading pre-owned we can all do our part to reduce e waste and save ourselves some hard earned cash during this economic situation, which hopefully will permanently change our wasteful habits.

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