Technology is changing at such a speed these days that many of us feel the need to upgrade our mobile phone every 18 months to two years.
Because of this, most of us have at least one old mobile phone lying around the home or gathering dust in a cupboard or drawer.
But rather than leaving it there or simply throwing it in the bin, why not recycle it, get some cash for your efforts and protect the environment at the same time? Here we explain how…
Where can I recycle my phone?
The number of websites and companies that allow you to recycle your old phone has jumped dramatically in recent years. To give you an idea of what’s out there, some of the sites include:
All you’ll need to do is select the phone you want to recycle and state what condition it’s in. You can then compare your options and choose the deal that works for you. Once you’ve made your decision, simply put your device in a padded envelope, post it to your chosen company and wait to receive your cash.
Can I recycle a damaged phone?
Most companies will accept phones that are damaged in some way, but you may get a reduced price. Phones that are seriously damaged, such as those that have been damaged by water or have a non-functioning screen, may not earn you any cash at all, but can often still be recycled (which is good for the environment).
What happens when my old mobile is recycled?
Before your phone is recycled, a decision will be made as to whether your phone can be resold as it is, refurbished, or broken up into parts. The phone’s IMEI number (which identifies the phone) will also be checked to ensure it isn’t lost or stolen.
If the phone is to be refurbished, the parts will be checked over and fixed or replaced and the refurbished phone will then be sold on either in the UK or abroad, perhaps to an emerging market where fewer people can afford new phones out of the box.
If the phone can’t be refurbished, its parts will be extracted to be reused. Some of the metals such as platinum, gold, silver, nickel and copper can be reused for other items such as jewellery, while the plastics used for the phone’s casing can be melted down into plastic sheets.
How much cash can I earn?
How much you will earn for your old phone depends on what condition it is in as well as the make and model, and the company you approach. It will also depend on how much demand there is for that particular handset.
As an example, looking on SellMyMobile.com, an iPhone 8 Plus can earn you as much as £250, while an iPhone 5 can earn you up to £10.50, and a Sony Xperia Z3 will get you up to £17.10.
It’s worth remembering that the release of a new phone iteration, such as the latest iPhone, may prompt a lot of people to recycle their older models, which may depress the prices such models attract.
Keep in mind also that even if you don’t get much money for your unwanted phone, it’s always better to recycle your handset rather than throwing it away in the household waste. Phones contain a lot of dangerous materials which can be harmful to the environment, so it’s crucial that your old one doesn’t end up in landfill.
Are there any other options?
As well as posting off your phone to be recycled using one of the companies mentioned above, there are a few other options to consider:
Sell it online
You can sell your old phone on platforms such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace and set the price you want. However, bear in mind you may have to pay listing fees and buyers may try to knock down the price due to concerns over how well the phone works.
Give it to a friend or family member
A more straightforward option might be to sell your old phone to a family member or friend, providing you can agree on a price. Or, if you’re feeling generous, simply give it away.
Donate to charity
WaterAid says the money will be used to provide clean water for some of the world’s poorest people, while money donated to Oxfam will be used to buy vital kit such as water tanks, wells, tools, seeds and school books.
Trade it in
Alternatively, you may be able to trade in your old phone with your mobile phone company when you buy a new one.
Apple, for example, allows you to trade in an eligible device for credit towards your next purchase, or you can choose an Apple Store gift card. If your device isn’t eligible for credit, it will be recycled for free, no matter what condition it is in. Apple Stores will also recycle devices of other brands on a like-for-like basis.