Factors and consumer attitudes that affect the sustainable management of used mobile phones: A repertory grid analysis
Used mobile phones with their small size but vast numbers, create a unique problem when it comes to managing the part they play in the creation of electronic waste (E-waste). Whilst previous studies have identified what consumers appear to be doing with their used mobile phones, there is also a need to better understand why they are doing it. This study investigated what factors appear to influence consumer attitudes towards adopting a more sustainable approach when dealing with their used mobile phones. A reuse, refurbish and recycle strategy was used as a lens to examine the current literature from which an initial model was developed. Using the repertory grid interview technique a group of participants was interviewed to try to determine their core beliefs when it came to managing their used mobile phones. Analysis of the interviews was completed using several analysis techniques including word clouds, percentage similarity analysis, and Honey’s content analysis. The results of the study indicate that consumers care about the effect of used mobile phones on the environment although the degree of concern appears to vary across individuals. In addition, it was identified that in general, consumers perceive reuse, refurbishing, and recycling all as positive ways to sustainably manage used mobile phones, whilst environmental awareness appears to play a significant role in engaging people with recycling and being a rational for storing used mobile phones. Finally, the study suggests that telecommunication providers when trying to improve engagement with takeback schemes should focus more on consumers’ environmental concerns and social norms, rather than financial incentives or promoting easy engagement.