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Understanding consumers' perspectives of electronic waste in an emerging economy: a case study of New Delhi, India

  • Borthakur, Anwesha; 127459;
  • Singh, Pardeep;
Publication Date
Feb 12, 2022
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Obsolete electronics or E-waste has observed significant escalation in the recent years. Young adults, in particular, are one of the largest consumers of electronic equipments in the contemporary world, although research on their perceptions, awareness and disposal behavior of E-waste has been far and few in between. Considering the growth trajectory of E-waste in the emerging economies, a study has been carried out in the capital city of India, New Delhi with 1039 respondents in the age group of 18-22. Contemplating its aggressive generation, obsolete mobile phone was considered as a representative of E-waste. Both purchase and disposal behaviors of mobile phones were evaluated through the lens of theoretical frameworks such as conspicuous consumption and throwaway society. The concepts of planned and premature obsolescence were also explored. A structured questionnaire survey was carried out through a respondent driven snowball sampling method. We observed that the functional need is the foremost consideration while deciding to purchase a new mobile phone within our study sample. Over 49% of our respondents change their mobile phones between 1 and 3 years. This corresponds to the fact that mobile phones are discarded very much within their actual functional lifespan. Overall, it could be concluded that the major attributes of conspicuous consumption and a throwaway society are still not dominant in our study sample. The experiences of India's E-waste have the potential to provide important insights for policy formulation and sustainable management particularly in other emerging economies and developing countries. / status: published

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