Aussies Love To Upgrade Their Phones

Eyeing off the latest new smartphone, even though your current handset works fine? You aren’t alone in Australia.

In a growing trend that flags a shift in consumption and e-waste accumulation, a recent survey reveals that 69 per cent — or more than two-thirds — of Australians upgrade their mobile phone despite already having a functioning handset.

The survey from comparison site posed a simple question to 2031 Australians: “What did you do with your last mobile phone when you got a new one?”

While 24 per cent of old phones were donated to a family member or friend, only nine per cent were cashed in online through sites such as eBay and Gumtree.

A full third of old phones are kept “for emergencies” in drawers or cupboards. With 31 million active mobile phone accounts in Australia, that means 10 million old phones are lying in draws of junk about the house instead of being put to good use.

Generation Y are much more likely (15 per cent) to sell their phone than Gen X (9 per cent) or Baby Boomers (4 per cent), hinting at a shift in phone consumption mentality.

Six per cent of phones end up in the bin as they are no longer serviceable.

A recent documentary, Death by Design, examines the human and environmental costs of creating our latest tech gadgets and disposing of our old ones.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) handsets are recycled, with the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association citing fear of sharing personal data as a main hindrance for users to do so.

A range of services in Australia offer phone recycling such as Mobile Muster and Recycling Near You.

This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald’s home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.

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