Most of us have had at least a few mobile phones that have wound up in the trash or become lost in one way or another during the course of our lives. Sadly, only about 3% of consumers actually recycle their mobile phone handsets when they’re no longer in use. In most cases, the device will sit in a drawer collecting dust while the owner neglects it for the newest iPhone. If you’re interested in getting rid of some of your old devices in a more responsible manner, check out the top 7 tips on recycling your mobile phone handset.
1. DONATE YOUR OLD MOBILE PHONE TO CHARITY
There are a lot of charities that will accept old mobile phones as donations. If you’re not into researching charities, a faster way to go about it would be to use a service like Recycle Appeal or Recycle Your Mobile to quickly and easily have your old handset donated to a charity that will put it to good use.
2. TRADE YOUR OLD HANDSET FOR GROCERY VOUCHERS
Another quick and easy way to recycle a mobile phone is to take it into a supermarket like Tesco, which has a mobile phone recycling program that lets you exchange your old handset for grocery vouchers. This is a great option for most people because the stores are typically generous with the voucher amounts and there’s no hassle or waiting involved.
3. SELLING INSTEAD OF RECYCLING
If your handset is still in working order you might consider selling it instead. By selling the device to someone else you’re “re-cycling” the product back onto the market and preventing it from being thrown away, so it is akin to recycling in the sense that it prevents the need to turn the device into waste unnecessarily. This is what most charities and phone recycling companies do. If you do decide to sell your handset yourself, instead of donating it to be refurbished and sold by someone else, then you consider putting it up for sale on sites like eBay. You could also go the easier route and compare a few sites like Environphone, Mobile Phone Xchange, or FoneBank.
4. SEND IT BACK TO WHERE IT CAME FROM
Most electronics retailers offer free recycling programs for their customers, so an easy way to recycle any old handset might be to simply take it to the store or ship it to the company that you bought it from. For example, you can drop any device off at any Carphone Warehouse or request a shipping envelope on their website.
5. GIVE SOMEBODY A GIFT
If dealing with the hassle of selling, donating, or “recycling” your phone through all of these charities, stores, auction sites, etc., doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then why not just skip all of that and give your old phone to someone who wants it. This is a simple and straightforward tip, but it is an often overlooked way to quickly get rid of an old handset without having to do much, while also helping someone in need. If you don’t know anybody to who wants a free mobile phone, try listing it in the free section of a local classified ads site like Gumtree, Craigslist, or Friday-Ad. Listing a working mobile phone for free on any of these sites is a sure way to get your phone recycled ASAP.
6. KNOW THAT YOU’RE PREVENTING POLLUTION
Unfortunately, unless consumers make a change, the majority of mobile phone handsets will make their way into the landfill, along with the slew of hazardous materials used to manufacture them, including mercury, lead, cadmium, bromine, brominated flame retardants, cadmium, and zinc. All of these chemicals leach into the soil and eventually the water supply, thereby affecting future agriculture and public health.
7. REMEMBER YOU’RE FIGHTING POVERTY
Another great aspect of “recycling” a mobile phone is that the majority of recycled phones are not actually broken down in the sense of conventional recycling, they’re refurbished and redistributed to markets in the developing world. This helps people in third world countries obtain devices at affordable prices, thereby increasing their chances of fighting poverty and building with the help of the internet.
8. HELP THE ECONOMY, THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND YOUR WALLET
If all of the tips above aren’t enough to motivate you to recycle your old mobile phone, consider the fact that doing so could give you extra money (from recycling or selling the phone), prevent harmful chemicals from going into the soil and water supply to help the environment and public health, and return tons of limited resources and precious metals into economic circulation, while also giving someone less fortunate the opportunity to own a device that you once deemed worthy of purchasing.