The Central European Review o f Economics And Management, 2(4), 7. doi: 10.29015/cerem.723

Life cycle extension of mobile phones. An exploration with focus on the end-consumer

Odette Penners1, Allard C.R. van RIEL2, Wim Lambrechts3, and Michael Pecht4

1 Maastricht University, The Netherlands
2 Hasselt University, Belgium
3 Open University of The Netherlands
4 Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA


All mobile phones will eventually become obsolete and should be collected and recycled in order to recover their high content of both dangerous and valuable materials. End-consumers play a key role in these processes as the collection and recycle systems cannot work properly without their contribution. Therefore, this exploratory study investigates how Dutch end-consumers can be stimulated to return their used mobile phones. The factors influencing consumers’ propensity to return and recycle obsolete mobile phones are examined. The results are based on a survey conducted among end consumers of mobile phones in the Netherlands. There is significant recycling potential as the majority of used mobile phones are simply kept at home. Keeping a used phone as a spare phone and being afraid of privacy disclosures are indicated as main reasons for not taking used phones to a recycling point. The findings indicate that personal satisfaction from recycling and knowledge or awareness of the potential dangers from not properly returning play a crucial role in influencing the propensity.

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