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Data security uncertainty hampers WEEE recycling

Personal data security fears are preventing householders from disposing of unwanted or unused electrical equipment, according to WEEE producer compliance scheme Repic.

In a survey, 69% of respondents admitted to having concerns about their personal data being breached. A third admitted they were more likely to keep hold of old electricals as a consequence.

More than a quarter (26%) of those questioned did not know how to delete personal data, while a third (33%) did not think that they should.

The survey also appeared to show a generational gap, with 76% of 16 to 29-year-olds worried about the security of their private information and 59% of people aged 60 and over voicing such concerns.

Repic chief executive Mark Burrows-Smith said: “Data can be deleted, devices cannot. These results are really telling in what drives people’s recycling behaviours and the need for increased education around how householders remove personal data before disposal.”

In a 2016 survey, 31% of respondents cited lack of knowledge about where to recycle their electronic devices and gadgets. This year the figure has dropped to 21%.

“Despite the barriers to recycling, people in the UK are aware of the consequences and cite reducing waste sent to landfill as the key driver for achieving their recycling responsibilities,” Burrows-Smith added.

“Overall, the results paint an optimistic picture that attitudes and behaviours are moving in the right direction – yet, as always, it is clear from these findings and the issues the WEEE industry is facing, that we must adapt to changing consumer behaviours to ensure this continues on the right trajectory.”

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