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Old Gadgets, New Clutter | Staples

Old Gadgets,
New Clutter

Americans are Hoarding Electronics Instead of Recycling Them

Americans are addicted to gadgets.

New research commissioned by Staples* found that Americans each own a handful of devices: the majority own a smartphone (70%), a laptop (76%), and a TV (92%).

Because everyone owns so many devices, American households are now packed with gadgets. For every 100 American households, there are 139 smartphones, 119 laptops, and a startling 252 TVs.

The percentage of the population that owns more than two of these gadgets:

  • Mobile phone 38%
  • Laptop 28%
  • Television 74%

For every 100 American households there are...

estimated number of devices

It’s no surprise that households are chock full of devices, considering the number of gadgets each person owns: 74% of Americans own 2 or more TVs, and more than a third (38%) own 2 or more smartphones.

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Gadgets as Gifts

Would you like a gadget as a gift?

YES 52%

NO 48%

Even though Americans own several smartphones, laptops, and TVs, 52% of Americans say they’d like to receive more gadgets this holiday season.

Out of the people who said they would like new devices this year, 36% said it was because they would like to own the latest technology available.

Reasons for wanting or not wanting gadgets

  • Want a gadget as a gift
  • Don't want a gadget as a gift

But it seems we suffer from over-gifting gadgets: 56% of people say they’ve received a gadget they didn’t want as a gift. So what are Americans doing with all their extra and unwanted devices?

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What happens to our unwanted devices?

Well, the short answer is we keep them. Only 8% of Americans have recycled unwanted gadgets. Actually, people are more likely to hoard them (24%), re-gift them (14%), or sell them for cash (10%) than recycle them.

What have you done with the unwanted gadget?
(of those that received one)

But why do people hoard devices instead of recycling them? The biggest culprit: misinformation. Almost a third of people (31%) don’t know you can recycle unwanted devices.

Reasons why people do not recycle their gadgets

The reality is, there are many locations throughout the country where electronics can be either sold or recycled for free. Find one now at Green Gadgets.

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*Find out more about how Americans consume, replace, and recycle technology in our full report