While handset vendors have made progress in complying with regulations banning toxic substances like heavy metals and PVC, very few are creating biodegradable and recyclable products from sustainable resources.
And while most do have recycling programs, less than 5% of handsets shipped worldwide annually come back through recycling or ethical disposal programs, ABI research says.
That doesn't mean handset makers aren't trying - Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have been lauded for marketing proof-of-concept green phones this year. The problem is developing the kind of scale that makes entire green product lines economically viable enough.
'Very few handset manufacturers - except those with the scale to do it economically, such as Samsung and Nokia - are highly motivated to produce lines of green phones,' says ABI Research director Kevin Burden. 'Instead, the effort is towards compliance and the trickling down of proven green elements throughout entire product lines.'