With the rapid pace of technological advancements, it’s no surprise that many of us upgrade our smartphones every few years. However, what happens to our old phones once we get new ones? Improper disposal of electronics can lead to environmental damage and security risks, which is why it’s important to dispose of old phones properly. In this blog post, we’ll provide tips and guidelines on how to dispose of an old phone in an eco-friendly and secure way, whether you’re looking to sell, donate, or recycle your device.
What to Do Beforehand
Backup and Wipe Your Data
Before you start thinking of how to get rid of your phone, it is important that you backup all your data either to a cloud storage service like Google Drive or iCloud or locally to a flash drive. After you’ve backed up your data, remove or log out of all your accounts, then factory reset your device.
Remove any accessory, such as cases, screen protectors, or pop sockets, that you may have used with your phone. These can be reused or recycled separately.
Remove SIM or SD Card
Don’t forget to remove your SIM card or microSD card (if you have one) before disposing of your old smartphone.
How to Dispose of Your Old Phone
A really good and economical way to get rid of your old smartphone is to sell it off. You get cash, and someone takes the phone you don’t want anymore off your hands. A win-win situation for you and way better than just throwing it in the trash.
Here are a few tips on how you can easily sell off your phone:
- Sell to companies that buy used smartphones like SmartphonesPLUS
- Sell to friends and people around you.
- Put your phone up for sale on online marketplaces like eBay.
- Sell to a pawn shop, etc.
If you don’t think the hassle of selling off your old smartphone is worth it, You can always give it as a donation to organizations that’ll put your phone to good use. There are a number of places that will accept donations of old phones.
And please, do not donate broken or unusable phones. These organizations need actual working phones, so don’t use them as a way to offload spoiled phones. Donating a phone can put it in the pocket of someone who really needs it.
Here are a few organizations you can donate to:
- 99 Cell Phone Bank: Phones go to people who may need to dial 911 in an emergency.
- Goodwill: Drop off your phone at a Goodwill, and it will be sold at a low cost, with the money going toward the community.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: This organization puts phones into the hands of domestic abuse victims.
- Secure the Call: Phones go to people in need and at higher risk of needing emergency services.
- Cell Phones for Soldiers: This nonprofit organization collects old cell phones and uses the proceeds to provide free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans.
Hand it Down
Another way you can get rid of your old phone is to hand it down, maybe to a younger sibling, or give it to someone around you who needs a smartphone. This is a really good and hassle-free way to get rid of your old phone. And best of all, you’re putting a smile on someone else’s face. If the phone is in a condition where you feel it’s not good enough to give, then this next one’s for you.
Recycling your phone should be your last resort, not tossing it into a garbage can or destroying it. Even if your phone has lost basic functionality, some components inside still have value (or are usable) and can be extracted and used to fix other electronics.
There are many places that can help you recycle your phone; some will even pay to take it off your hands. It’s likely your local recycling center or landfill has electronics recycling. Here are a few other places that can do it as well.
- Best Buy: Several Best Buy stores have electronic recycling kiosks located within their premises for your convenience.
- Call2Recycle is a non-profit organization that provides phone drop-off locations across the United States.
- Earth911: Use the recycling search tool provided by Earth911 to locate the nearest phone drop-off location in your area.
- EcoATM: ecoATM uses kiosks with AI and machine vision to evaluate the device’s condition and provide cash for consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, and tablets. Accepted devices are either refurbished or recycled in an eco-friendly way.
What NOT to do!
- Don’t throw it in the trash: Phones and other electronics should not be thrown in the regular trash as they contain toxic materials that can be harmful to the environment.
- Don’t give it away without checking for damage: Check the phone for any physical or water damage before giving it away to ensure that the recipient will not have any issues with it.
- Don’t ignore recycling programs: Many manufacturers and carriers offer free or low-cost recycling programs that make it easy to dispose of your phone in an eco-friendly way.