How to Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

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Need a new phone? Here’s how to recycle your old cell phone, and why you definitely should…

While we can all do our part to reduce waste by using our devices as long as possible, at some point, you’ll likely need to upgrade your phone. You can still help to reduce your impact by choosing to recycle your old cell phone. In fact, simply throwing your phone in the trash can actually pose a danger to others and to the environment.

According to Earth911.com, here are 4 reasons why you’ll want to make sure and recycle your old cell phone, rather than simply throwing it away:

1.) Harmful Materials

There are many kinds of materials inside cell phones that are quite dangerous to humans, animals, and plants.

For example, mobile devices contain mercury, which has long been known to cause brain damage, muscular disorders, and other medical issues. Lead is another common element in phones. It can cause cancer and brain damage. There are more, but those are the two most dangerous materials. A qualified recycler will know how to handle the harmful materials in the phone safely.

2.) Conserving Resources

It only makes sense that if you recycle a phone, the materials can be put to good use. The gold, solder, and silicon in a phone can be recovered and used again. Some materials, such as the rare earth elements used in electronics, are only available from China and could be cut off in the case of conflict. If your phone is inoperable, a qualified recycler can recover some of its plastic, metal, and rare earth elements. If it still functions, you’ll be preventing the need to produce another one, which saves valuable natural resources.

3.) Waste Reduction

If you take good care of your phone, you can turn it in and reduce the amount of waste entering the ecosystem. This, alone, is a good reason to recycle an old phone.

4.) Money in Your Pocket

Consider the money you save when you turn in a working phone for a new one. Not only do you get a spiffy new cellphone, but you may be able to get a cash discount on it. Some sellers even give consumers a cash bonus for turning in an old phone. So, in addition to all the environmental and safety reasons for recycling a phone, you can get a nice financial reward too.

Some cellphone carriers will provide a free or low-cost upgrade when you turn in your old phone for recycling. This is probably the easiest way to recycle your old phone, but if your phone is damaged or so old that they won’t accept it as a trade-in, there are still ways to recycle your old cell phone.

Step 1: Find a Place to Recycle Your Phone

The first step is to find a local recycling center. You can typically find these centers at your local big box store or hardware store. Once you’ve found a center, the next step is to research what type of phone you have. This is important because different recycling centers accept different types of phones. For example, some centers only accept iPhones while others accept all types of phones. You can also check this article for a list of carriers that may provide incentives for recycling your old phone.

Step 2: Remove All Memory Cards

After you’ve determined what type of phone you have, the next step is to remove the SIM card and memory card (be sure to back up all of your data first, or transfer it to your new phone). These cards store your personal data, so it’s important to remove them before you recycle your phone.

Step 3: Wipe Data

Once you’ve removed the cards, the next step is to wipe the phone clean of all personal data. This can typically be done by going into the phone’s settings and selecting the “factory reset” option.

Step 4: Drop Off Your Phone for Recycling

Once you’ve wiped the phone clean, the final step is to drop off the phone at the recycling center. Most centers will have a drop-off box where you can simply place your phone.

And that’s it! By following these simple steps, you can recycle your old phone in a responsible way and help reduce your impact on the planet.



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