Low mobile phone recycling rates in the UK still beat rates for the rest of the world, where half of people asked in a global survey were unaware that their mobiles could be recycled.
Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia surveyed 6,500 people in 13 countries and found that just 3% of people recycle their old phones.
UK mobile owners fared better, with a fifth unaware they could recycle their phones and 9% saying they did recycle their mobile.
The findings showed that despite people owning on average five phones in their lifetime, very few of these are being recycled. Yet few old devices in the UK are going to landfill, just 3%. Instead 48% are kept at home, unwanted and never used. A fifth of people, 19%, pass on their old mobile phones to friends or family, and 8% are resold.
Such low rates of recycling prompted Nokia director of environmental affairs markets Markus Terho to comment: If all of the three billion people that own mobile phones globally 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.
Nokia said it is expanding its global take-back programmes and last week launched a take back scheme based at its Regent Street store in London.