Household junk drawers have quickly become cell phone graveyards as consumers constantly upgrade their electronics for newer models.

A survey provided by Market Watch found that more than half of US consumers are stashing two or more unused cell phone in their homes. This hoarding habit results in a potential $34 billion in electronics recycling and remarketing if consumers traded in their unused cell phones. A CBS article reported “half a billion old US phones could be recycled” just last year in January 2012.

Click here to watch the CBS video reporting on the article “Half a Billion Old US Phones Could be Recycled.”

Apple products are the highest trade-in value of the top ten original electronics manufacturers (OEM). The catch-22 is that the high trade-in value is caused by the act of hoarding itself. Because consumers are hoarding their Apple electronics and they have the greatest expectancy for being refurbished and remarketed at high rates, the trade-in value of the device increases. In fact, iPhones account for $9 billion of the $34 billion in unused cell phones collecting dust in households.

Why are consumers not taking advantage of responsible electronics recycling programs?

While 20% of consumers actually take part in electronics recycling, the survey found that one in five participants are simply “too lazy” to properly dispose of their unused phones. There are a number of options for responsible electronics recycling available to consumers from newly emerging kiosks in malls, which have the ability to take your device on the spot and disperse cash for the trade-in;, to recycling programs via cell phone carriers that could have benefits when upgrading to a newer version of the phone.

Surprisingly, the survey found an astonishing number of consumers were not even aware they could receive money for a cell phone trade-in. An Apple product alone has a potential trade-in value of a couple hundred dollars. If a consumer has no intention of using the device in the future, why not get a little side cash for the trade-in?

Apart from being an inconvenience to some consumers, the same number of survey participants expressed concern for their personal information stored in the cell phone. Just because a phone is gathering dust in a drawer does not mean that your information is safe. Eventually, the phone will find its way into the public and your personal information could be hacked and stolen.

When researching proper electronics recycling, keep an eye out for organizations that are responsible recyclers (R2). HOBI International Inc. and similar entities are certified and experienced in proper data erasure. Resetting a cell phone back to its factory setting is not always enough to keep personal data from being accessed by an outside source.

Especially important to companies who have implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) program for its employees, IT departments should set out to guarantee complete data erasure of employee devices containing sensitive company data.

Next time you go to your junk drawer to grab a rubber band or pair of scissors, take a look around at how many cellphones lying there of no use to you. No longer should the household junk drawer be a graveyard for cellphones when they have the chance to be disposed of or refurbish by a responsible electronics recycler. There are only benefits for consumers when responsibly recycling electronics from complete data erasure of personal information to possible money back for trade-ins.