Wisconsin residents turning on to e-cycling

Wisconsin’s E-Cycle program, the state-wide electronics recycling program, is now in its third year and is gaining traction and recognition amongst state residents.

Each year, the state Department of Natural Resources conducts a statewide survey of residents to help determine the effectiveness of the program and the overall awareness of the program within the state.

Comparing the survey results reported in September 2012 with those from similar surveys reported in 2011 and 2012, the state DNR says that two-thirds of state residents are now aware of the law passed in October 2009 banning electronics from state landfills, and that 40 percent of all residents had some knowledge of the state electronics collection and recycling program, Wisconsin E-Cycle.

The survey showed that Wisconsonians are most vigilant about recycling their TV sets – from nearly 30 percent who said they put their old TV sets out to the curb in 2006, about 6 percent said they did so in 2011, with nearly 40 percent saying they recycled their TVs in 2011.

The survey did reveal some gaps in awareness of the landfill ban, especially amongst younger residents (Ages 18-30) and in certain regions of the state. Residents in rural areas were more familiar with the landfill ban than their urban neighbors.

While expense – or perceived expense, as the survey points out – is the number one reason most people say they don’t recycle their electronics more often, the second most common reason was not knowing where or how to recycle their electronics.

What can state regulators take from this survey? It’s interesting that online methods of awareness of the program were the least cited in the survey – only 5 to 15 percent of residents learned of the program through the internet, compared with news stories (70 percent amongst seniors, 60 percent amongst other groups). The group with the lowest awareness – 18-30 year olds – had the highest online exposure rate at just more than 15 percent.

The 18-30 year old tech generation is likely to rate the Internet as important as air, food and water, studies show – so it’s important to target these groups using the media that work for them. WDNR doesn’t feel that the internet is a strong vehicle for their message, however.

“The combination of tools we have been using to conduct outreach has made an impact on survey respondents. Clearly, news stories, communities, radio ads, waste haulers and retailers all play important roles in reaching Wisconsin residents. However, if E-Cycle Wisconsin would like to particularly target younger residents in upcoming years, electronics retailers may hold the key to doing so,” the agency states in the report.

To view the full report, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Electronics Recycling is important, but knowing and trusting your recycler is more important! Responsible, domestic e-waste recyclers are not as easy to find as some would lead you to believe. ECS Refining is registered as an approved Wisconsin recycler, learn more at http://www.ecsrefining.com!


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