Mobile Muster recently released a deeply researched review (pdf) of the last 10 years of mobile phone use and recycling in Australia. Perhaps the most impressive finding was that just 2% of people now send their phones to landfill.

That doesn’t mean the other 98% are being recycled. Many of them are rattling around in drawers across the nation, even if they no longer work – a staggering 22.5 million phones. And yes, we are just talking about Australia.

Reasons for this hoarding include not knowing why, where and how to recycle or wanting a financial reward. Fortunately just a small rump (less than 5% of people) say they will never recycle.

As for that first group, the solution is really simple. Mobile Muster collection boxes can be found at post offices and post shops, so there’s really no excuse for not recycling. If that’s not convenient enough you can even download a reply paid label. Put your phone into a padded envelope or box, slap on the label and drop it into a letterbox. Easy.

So why are those old, unloved, out of sight phones a problem? The main reason is that they contain a lot of valuable materials that could be put back into the manufacturing cycle. Anything that reduces the need to extract virgin resources helps to take some of the strain off the environment.

So how about it? Do you really need that old phone that, if you are honest with yourself, you know you’ll never use again? Of course not.

Some manufacturers have their own recycling programs for their phones, but if yours doesn’t, hop down to your local Post Shop and drop off your old phone in the Mobile Muster bin.

Image: stratman² via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)