Mobile phone owners 'shun recycling'Old handsets left unused at home

10 July 2008

Blue mobile phone

Thousands of old mobile phones are left unused at home rather than being sent for recycling, according to a new survey.

Finnish phone company Nokia says that only 3% of people across the globe recycle their old handsets through a recycling scheme.

Instead, more than 40% are left lying around at home, while 25% of people are passing on their old phones to friends or family.

Recycling phones

Nokia's poll found that three out of every four people don't even think about recycling their old devices, while nearly half were unaware they could do so.

The survey was based on interviews with 6,500 people in 13 countries including the UK.

It revealed that, on average, each person has owned around five phones.

Reclaimed materials

But while only 3% have recycled an old handset, just 4% of used mobiles are being thrown into landfill.

But Nokia says that up to 80% of one of its handsets is recyclable.

It added that reclaimed materials can be reused to help make new products ranging from kettles and park benches to dental fillings and saxophones.

Nokia’s director of environmental affairs,  Markus Terho, said: ‘If each of the 3 billion people globally owning mobiles 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 4 million cars off the road.’

Which? has tips on how to recycle phones and household appliances in our report on the issue.