What to do with your old cell phone

My wife and I upgraded our cell phones in the spring, and the old models still sit in drawer in the kitchen. We gave one of them to our daughter, which she played with it for quite some time, but there are definitely better things you can do with your old cell phone. Here are a few suggestions:

Cell Phones for Soldiers: Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to turn old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas in 2007. To do so, Cell Phones for Soldiers expects to collect 15,000 cell phones each month through a network of more than 3,000 collection sites across the country.

ReCellular: Wireless Recycling: An increasing number of Americans are using cell phones, discarding them frequently, and creating tons of solid waste even though most of the used cellular phones are still functional. ReCellular saw the opportunity to start a new industry and help protect the environment. ReCellular, Inc., was founded to refurbish, reuse and responsibly recycle discarded cell phones.

American Cell Phone Drive: Donate or recycle your used cell phones through AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org, the largest, most comprehensive, cell phone drive in the world. Over 4,000 organizations are part of AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org. Choose the organization you would like to donate or recycle your used cell phones through in your local community by going to AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org.

Get rid of your old cell phone clutter and do something charitable in the process!

20 Comments for “What to do with your old cell phone”

  1. posted by Elspeth on

    Many women’s shelters will also take phone donations as they are reprogrammed for emergency use only and then given to women and their children. Several places in Baltimore take them, like House of Ruth, and even my old college used to have cell phone drives for this same reason.

  2. posted by JB on

    Many cell-phone storefronts or kiosks have drop boxes for used cell phones which they donate to local shelters or recycling programs. Every Sprint store that I’ve been to has one. Additionally, my boyfriend was able to give his old Verizon phone to the Cingular recycle box at our local mall (the Verizon rep actually referred him to the box as he was upgrading), so they’re not company-specific.

    One thing to consider, though… if you loose or break your new phone and don’t want to pay full price for a replacement, many older cell phones can be reactivated for free or a small fee. I know that it adds to your clutter, but it might save you a lot of money. (I know that Sprint won’t give you another new phone discount until your next 2-year anniversary.)

  3. posted by CBC on

    Agree with above – I work a non-profit rape crisis center, and we collect old cell phones and get cash for recycling them. Please don’t just throw it away!

  4. posted by Jenny on

    My old phones go to my local Sheriff’s office for use in their domestic violence program. Additionally, Wireless Alliance http://www.thewirelessalliance.com offers free postage-paid labels for cell phone recycling programs that they run.

  5. posted by Polter on

    I read somewhere that a cell phone without the network sim card will still be able to dial 911 emergency. If true, it may be worth it to keep it charged and in the glove compartment of your car or in an emergency kit, just in case.

    I’m not sure where I heard this, and haven’t verified it myself, so take caution before relying on this in a pinch.

  6. posted by dr on

    The Body Shop will also collect and recycle old cell phones. You can drop them off at any store.

  7. posted by Jeremy on

    I traded my old BlackBerry to my dealer for drugs. I sure wish I would’ve read this article first!

    But hey! I made up for it by donating my old glasses to the Lens Crafter’s charity program. (^)_(^)

  8. posted by zakstar on

    Funding Factory (fundingfactory.com) will actually pay you for your cell phone and used ink cartridges

  9. posted by pedro on

    By law, cell phones MUST be able to dial 911 even if they are not on a contract or have any sort of service. If they can get a signal, you can dial 911. If you give someone a car charger and a cell phone, you could give someone the ability to dial 911 in emergency situations.

  10. posted by Gray on

    At our local flea market there is a guy who buys and sells used phones, he usually doesn’t pay much, (5 or 10 bux) but it gets them out of my hair and out of the house and it pays for lunch that day. maybe not as noble as donating them to a worth cause, but it is another option.

  11. posted by Aurien on

    I know Movie Gallery locations will take old cell phones in exchange for a free rental from their gallery.

  12. posted by Fallon OBrien on

    Recycle your cell phone and help build the First National Memorial to our living disabled veterans!!! Go to http://www.recycle4avdlm.com and help build this tribute. Do something good with your old phone…

  13. posted by Bob on


  14. posted by Rhynole on

    Keep your old phone as a backup. If you break the new one, pop the sim card back into the old one. Or, be proactive. If you are going somewhere to engage in an activity that increases the risk of you damaging your old phone, pop the sim into the old one and take that instead.

  15. posted by L Davis on

    Old cell phones can be donated to your local police and sheriff’s offices for use for victims of abuse……….

  16. posted by Vincent on

    New York City residents can also take their cellular phones to computer and electronic recycling drives held by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. These events are usually held from 10-4 on a Saturday or Sunday. The phones are used to help support the center’s computer and electronic recycling initiatives. Even though you may see the center’s events somewhere else, the center’s own schedule is the one to follow, as any changes and additions show up there first, giving you more time to plan ahead. Yes, I volunteer for the center.

  17. posted by Michael on

    I’m sad to say I used one company, and didn’t get paid a dime because they claimed everything was too old! I’ve since changed to “absoluterecycling.org”. They’ve been pretty good to me.. Paid me quickly for the “better” phones collected, and even paid me a little money for the old clunker “out dated” phones too. They sent me material to help promote too. So, not bad at all.

  18. posted by KS1 on

    It’s odd there isn’t a big mobile phone buyback scheme outside the UK. Loads of companies over here will give you money for your old phone which are sent abroad to developing countries. I got £67 for my old phone when I upgraded and sent mine to mobile xchange and I feel good knwoing I’ve done my bit for the enviroment 🙂

  19. posted by Moxy on

    Brilliant review on all the different schemes. Glad I can make a bit of extra moolah on my cell!

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