Only one in 10 people in the UK recycle their mobile phone, according to new research by Nokia.
Two thirds of respondents did not even think about recycling their devices, and nearly a fifth were unaware that it is even possible to do so, the mobile giant said.
Despite these rather dismal figures, the UK fares much better than most other countries.
Globally, just three per cent of people recycle their unwanted devices, and nearly half are not even aware that a mobile phone could be recycled.
"If all of the three billion people that own mobile phones brought back just one unused device we could save 240,000 tonnes of raw materials and reduce greenhouse gases to the same effect as taking four million cars off the road," said Markus Terho, director of environmental affairs and markets at Nokia.
"It is clear from this survey that very few mobile devices are recycled when they reach the end of their lives."
Nokia found that most people have an average of five mobile phones, but that only nine per cent in the UK had recycled their old mobile phone.
Nearly half keep their old mobiles at home in a drawer, and about a fifth pass them on to friends or family. The rest are either resold, dumped into landfill or find another life.
According to Nokia, around 80 per cent of its devices are made of recyclable and precious materials which can be reused to make new products such as kitchen kettles, park benches, dental fillings or even musical instruments.
"Plastics that cannot be recycled are burnt to provide energy for the recycling process, and other materials are ground up and used as construction materials or for building roads. In this way nothing has to go to landfill," explained Terho.
The handset maker is encouraging customers to bring unwanted phones to any of around 5,000 collection points in 85 countries around the world.
It is also developing a series of campaigns and activities to give people more information on why, how and where to recycle their old and unwanted devices, chargers and mobile accessories.
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