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Only 3% of us recycle mobile phones, finds report

And most of us didn't even realise we could

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The recycling message may have been drummed into us for everything from plastic bottles to old newspapers, but the majority of people still don’t recycle their worn out mobile phones, Nokia says.

The handset giant questioned 6500 people in 13 countries, including the US, UK and China, to discover more about people's attitudes to mobile phone recycling. Alas, only three per cent said they recycle handsets after use and nearly half claimed not to know that mobile phones can be recycled.

Markus Terho, Nokia's environmental bigwig, claimed that if each of the 3bn mobile phone owners around the globe recycled just one handset, it would have the same effect as taking 4m cars off the road.

It’s worth noting that not all handset owners are just chucking their defunct phones into landfill sites – only four per cent of them are. Nokia found that 44 per cent of phones are simply thrown into the back of a drawer.

Around 16 per cent of us opt to make a quick buck and sell our phones into the emerging markets, which is perhaps where lots of first-generation iPhones may end-up come Friday.

Although Nokia proudly boasts that 80 per cent of all its devices are recyclable, the firm has previously been criticised by Greenpeace for deficiencies in its recycling programme.

Following publication of version seven of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, the body told Register Hardware that although Nokia has a handset recycling scheme in place, the system simply doesn't work as effectively as it could. For example, Nokia’s representatives in Russia didn't know about the programme and so were not promoting it to consumers.

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