Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Old Cell Phone
While doing some de-cluttering, I found my old cell phone. Sitting in a draw. I know I can recycle it or possibly donate it to a charity. But where exactly can I bring it and how can I be assured it will be used to the highest degree possible?
So started my investigation…
I couldn’t find a consensus on how many cell phones are purchased each year in the U.S., so I did my own math.
According to the US census for 2011, there are 233 million people between the ages of 15 and 80. Assuming each of those people has a cell phone and the average life of a cell phone is 3 years (which is probably on the high side), 77.7 million cell phones are being replaced per year. That’s a lot of phones! Worldwide, the numbers are closer to 1 billion per year!
Not only do you want to make sure that your old phone doesn’t end up in a third world country or landfill, but go one step further. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in that order.
Do you REALLY need a new cell phone? Can you get by for a bit longer with this one?
Or maybe you can buy a used phone. Look for a refurbished phone through your cell phone provider or on Ebay.
Gift it Can someone else in your family use your old phone? Maybe a grandparent or a teen?
Sell it If it’s still fairly new try selling it. Gazelle, a Boston based company, will give you an estimate right on their website.
Help victims of abuse
Verizon’s HopeLine Recycling Program will accept any phone in any condition from any provider. The phones are scrubbed of personal data, refurbished and sold or given to victims of domestic abuse. Phones that cannot be refurbished are recycled responsibly. Verizon accepts phones and accessories at any of their Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, through Hopeline phone drives or through the mail with post-paid label.
Make the internet safe for kids
Sprint has a program that “Enables anyone to recycle wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards for free, regardless of carrier or condition. Program benefits Internet safety for kids.” According to their website, “More than 90% of the devices collected are reused. Any equipment not reused is recycled.”
Many cell phone providers are offering buy back deals, reuse opportunities with charities or recycling options. When you upgrade, ask what they can do with your old phone.
As a last resort, recycle it If you know your phone does not work, recycle it for FREE:
- Local Electronics collections Westford’s next event is June 22 and is open to all
- Best Buy
Do you have an old cell phone sitting around?