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How To Recycle An Old Mobile Phone

Mobile Phone Recycling

Image Credit: Bruno Gl├Ątsch

Whether you have broken your mobile phone or just want to upgrade to a newer model, there are better things to do with an old phone than stick it in a drawer!

Why You Should Recycle Your Old Mobile Phone

Mobile phones contain many valuable materials and components so even if a phone is completely unusable, 80% of the materials that it is made from can be recycled and used again.

Many of these materials are damaging to the earth. If you put your phone in the bin and it goes to landfill, these chemicals could leach into the ground.

What To Do Before You Sell, Donate or Recycle A Mobile Phone

Your old mobile phone is full of personal information about you. Phone Numbers and contact details of all your friends. You may very well have lots of photos that you want to keep, as well as music, podcasts and movies that you have downloaded.

Then, there are the passwords; Facebook, Twitter, the logins for your email, bank or favourite shopping sites. All things that you really do not want anyone else getting hold of.

Firstly download all that personal stuff that you want to keep like photos and music to your computer or make sure it is copied to your SIM. Then make sure you remove your SIM and any SD cards in your phone.

When you are sure everything is saved do a factory reset on your phone. This deletes all apps and wipes all that personal info.

Here is a very good article on How to wipe an Android phone or tablet on the Which? website.

If you have an Apple phone, the details on how to do a factory reset on an iPhone are on their website.


If you are upgrading your current phone, under current WEEE regulations, the retailer who sells you your new phone is obliged take your old phone back for recycling.

Take it to the shop where you buy your new phone, or if you are buying online, your retailer may send you a postage paid envelope to send the phone back to them.

Your Mobile Phone Could Be Worth Money - Even If It Is Broken

You've probably seen them advertising on TV, the Internet and in magazine. There are lots of companies which will help you to recycle your mobile phone for cash. Some allow you to donate the money to your favourite charity too.

You can find out if your phone may be worth money using this Mobile Phone Recycling Price Comparison Search.

Many of these recycling companies will often give you a small amount of money for even a non-working phone.

Could My Really Old Mobile Phone Be A Collectors Item?

Some classic mobile phone designs have become collector's items. If you have an old Nokia 8210 or even one of those old 1980's house brick type phones you might be able to sell it on eBay or similar for a tidy sum.

Fashions come and go in the market for all 'collectables', and mobile phones are no different. Condition will make a huge difference to the price that a collector is prepared to pay, and so you'll need to keep an eye out for whatever this season's trends are. If the shops are full of 80's style power suits or 90's grunge, that trend will filter down to phones too.

Donate Your Old Mobile Phone

If you don't want to sell your old phone, how else can you dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way?

Many charity shops accept mobile phones for recycling in all conditions. They can collect them for refurbishment or recycling. So, your donated phone can help raise money for the charity.

Here are some charities that are currently accepting mobile phones for recycling.

  1. Oxfam
  2. Little Lives
  3. RSPCA
  4. Wateraid
  5. Animal Free Research
  6. Omega

Many schools and community groups also collect phones to raise money too.

How Else Can I Recycle My Old Phone?

Any mobile phone can also be disposed of via you local council's 'small electricals' recycling, either through your kerbside collection or at your local recycling centre.

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