If you are hoarding an old mobile phone in your drawer, you are not alone. There are 23 million unused mobile phones in Australia and environmental experts are warning the burgeoning number of obsolete phones will get worse, as upgraded smartphones are released, including Apple's new iPhone, expected to be launched on Wednesday.
''These devices are just accumulating right across the country in Australian households,'' said Ruth Lane, senior lecturer in environmental science at Monash University. ''Everyone has one in their bottom drawer and they are a bit uncomfortable about what to do with them.''
Ms Lane, who has a PhD in environmental science, said people found it hard to throw out their phones if they had upgraded to a newer model and the old device was still working.
There is a potential for the many components of mobiles to be reused but many people are psychologically attached to their phone or they worry about the security of data, Ms Lane said.
A report by Mobile Muster, a not-for-profit mobile recycler, found there was one unused mobile phone for every person in Australia and the phones are usually more than four years old.
''People are hoarding and hanging on to [their] phone,'' Mobile Muster manager Rose Read said. ''It's more wasteful to leave your phones in your cupboard than recycling them. People keep thinking that maybe they will keep them for another day.''
Mobile phones contain more than five reusable materials including plastic, gold, copper, lithium and cobalt that are recycled in countries such as Singapore, North Korea and Australia.
The International Telecommunications Union estimates that by next year the number of mobile phone plans will exceed the world's population, which is 7.1 billion.
In Australia, there are 17.4 million mobile subscriptions with internet connections, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the total number of the phone services, including dongles and data card services, is now 24.34 million, the Australian Communications and Media Authority says.