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EAR survey: population knows more about returning old appliances

This is the result of a recent survey conducted by the WEEE Register Foundation (EAR).

Twice a year, the WEEE Register Foundation (EAR ) surveys the public's level of knowledge on the topic of e-waste disposal in Germany and publishes the results in the E-Trendbarometer plan. According to the EAR, knowledge about the take-back of old appliances in retail has steadily improved since 2019. For example, two thirds of respondents now knew that they can return a comparable old appliance free of charge when purchasing a large appliance. Almost one in two also knew that this also applies to delivery to their place of residence. Around half were also aware of the 0:1 take-back obligation for small appliances in specialist, retail and supermarket stores. However, only less than 40% were aware that online retailers are also obliged to take back small appliances free of charge. Compared to 2019, however, the figure is siad to have risen significantly. Despite the overall increase in knowledge about the return of old appliances in retail, only eight percent of participants were able to answer six questions completely correctly, according to the EAR survey. Men answered correctly more often than women, older people more often than younger people, the EAR continued. The correct meaning of the crossed-out wheelie garbage can symbol used on electrical and electronic appliances, for example, is still only known to a few people. Only six percent of respondents answered correctly - compared to two percent in 2019. According to the survey, states on various obstacles to disposal remained high and even increased in some cases. For example, two out of five respondents would still state that they were not sure whether e-waste was actually processed properly and in an environmentally friendly manner after disposal. Around a third would complain that there were too few disposal options.
The EAR believes that good information alone is not enough to bring about the necessary changes in behavior. This would be shown by the survey results. In addition to educational work on the correct disposal of old appliances, clear communication of the return options by retailers and an attractive design of the disposal options were therefore also necessary, the EAR demands.

  • EAR Foundation press release (20.6.2024)
  • Graphic: © EAR

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