Three quarters of a million old mobiles will have been discarded or dumped since Christmas, according to a survey.
Just four per cent of those questioned in a poll for The Body Shop said they would bother to recycle them.
Toxics in dumped mobiles can harm the environment, but more than a quarter of people with new models said they would just throw their old ones in the bin.
It is estimated 15 million mobiles are replaced annually, with owners updating them on average every 18 months.
It is thought about 3.75 million mobile handsets will have landed in Christmas stockings in 2003, according to NOP, a figure which is likely to grow next year.
But many mobile owners are not aware of recycling schemes for phones.
“Mobile phones may contain toxic substances which can be released into the air or our water supply when burned or disposed of in landfills, creating threats to human health and the environment,” said The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick.
A number of organisations have tried to help people avoid adding to the country’s mobile mountain, which is set to get worse as mobile ownership continues to climb.
The latest effort comes from The Body Shop, which has teamed up with recycling firm Greener Solutions to encourage people to hand in their old phones so that they can be recycled for charity.
From 5 January, those with a new mobile will be able to take their old ones into The Body Shop for collection to be recycled or reconditioned, and even reused in developing countries.
Each phone handed in will raise £2.75 for the domestic violence charity Refuge, as part of its nationwide Help Stop Violence in the Home campaign.
“By recycling your mobile phone, you can help Refuge provide the vital life-saving services to women and children who live with domestic violence every day of their lives,” said Sandra Horley, Refuge chief executive.