Many people have old smartphones, laptops and tablets piling up somewhere in their home. Most of them, though, don't know how to dispose of them, according to a recent survey.
Twenty percent of respondents have four or more broken phones, 20% also have an unused tablet, and 45% have an old or broken computer.
"People just don't know what to do with these electronics," said Megan Sanctorum with Arris Composites, the company that conducted the survey.
Nineteen percent of people said they tossed old electronics into the trash can, a move that's illegal in California.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
"A lot of people say sustainability is important to them and they want to be able to recycle," Sanctorum said. "When you have that clutter building up in your home, you don't know what to do with it, so a lot of people are just throwing it in the trash."
According to the survey, 88% of people said they would be more likely to recycle their electronics if it was easier. That's one of the things organizations like I Love a Clean San Diego try to do.
"The findings are pretty consistent with what we’ve been seeing locally," said Brooke Yaptangco Flinn of I Love a Clean San Diego. "Last year, about 10% of our total inquiries were related to electronic waste."
San Diegans can find recycling events listed at WasteFreeSD.org. There you can search by ZIP code and see what repair, donation and recycling options there are. You can also call Clean SD's recycling line at 800-237-BLUE if you live in a city in San Diego County or 877-R-1-EARTH if you're in an unincorporated part of the county.
Flinn said, to truly cut back on electronic waste, we need to examine our buying habits.
"Make sure we're limiting our consumption of electronic materials first and foremost," Flinn said. "Ask: Do I really need that new iPhone?' 'Do I need this new laptop?' "