Mobile phone users are failing to recycle their handsets when they reach end-of-life, according to Nokia.

The Finnish mobile maker's survey of 6,500 people found that most smartphone users don't even think about recycling, instead leaving their handset to gather dust at home. Just 3 percent of those interviewed recycled their phones.

However, the survey found that only 4 percent of old handsets end up in landfill; those who don't keep them in a drawer pass then on to friends of family, or sell them.

Nonetheless, Nokia warned that this was a missed opportunity. The mobile phone giant said that if each of the 3 billion mobile phone owners recycled one, it would result in 240,000 tons of raw materials that could be reused. The carbon emissions saved by reuse of that material would be the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road, Nokia said.

"It's an opportunity for us to work with people to raise that number," said Nokia spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said.

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