There was a marked decline in public donations of old mobile phones to recycling schemes in 2008, charities have revealed.
Oxfam and Cancer Research UK both confirmed they have seen a fall in the number of unwanted mobiles donated. Charities can sell the handsets to generate income.
Oxfam said donations to its recycling scheme had dropped by nearly 70 per cent during 2008.
The charity declined to provide exact figures but said the number it received last year was "several thousand fewer" than in 2007. CRUK said there had been a "steady decline" in mobile phone donations since July 2008 but was also unable to provide exact figures.
Greensource Solutions, a mobile phone recycling initiative that gives part of the money it raises to charity, said donations had fallen by 25 per cent, from 6,000 in 2007 to 4,500 since January 2008.
Maria Howell, customer services manager at Greensource Solutions, said schemes that offered people cash in return for their handsets were to blame.
"There are now so many other schemes out there," she said. "The problem is that people would rather get the money than give to charity, especially at a time like this. It's a far bigger incentive."