In this day and age it’s said that a man’s home is his landfill, and that’s certainly the case with home PCs-almost half of American households with Home PCs that report having a PC prior to their present machine say they are still hanging on to their old one. If the machine does go out the door, the most common single destination is to the hands of a friend, relative or co-worker. Some machines do get recycled, donated, and-yes!-even junked, but reselling is below the noise level, even in this era of eBay.
Why is this important?
Toxic waste is a growing worldwide problem, much of which is concentrated in consumer electronics. Furthermore, understanding replacement rates is also more important than ever to the extent that many consumers minimize their purchases of new products until they feel settled about what they can do with their old equipment. Beyond the core replacement rates, understanding just where PCs end up – in landfills or as someone else’s computer – affects fundamental assumptions and forecasts about the future of the industry.
MetaFacts, Inc., has been able to gain insight into the fate of old home PCs through analysis of responses to questionnaires completed by 10,418 American households in its Technology User Profile 2005 survey.