How To Recycle Your Old Mobile Phone

By Vanessa B

Did you know? The current number of mobile phones in the United Kingdom is higher than its population; translating to millions of unused mobile phones scattered around the home in cupboards, drawers and boxes and offices. 

There’s some good news for people who care about the environment and want to contribute in every possible way to extend their bit in keeping the planet intact – these unwanted mobile phones are quite recyclable. Knowing about all the options will only help you to choose the best method for you when the time comes to recycle your mobile phone. Read on to learn more.

How Does Mobile Phone Recycling Work?

Like many other electronics, mobile phones can also be recycled. The parts that can be reused are extracted from it, and the rest goes to structured trash. When a mobile phone is sent for recycling the first thing that the recycling company does is to check the IMEI number to ensure that it is clean from all illegal activities. 

There are a few things that mobile recycling companies do. If the phone is repairable and could be refurbished, this is done in order to get it ready to be resold. However, if it is in bad shape, maybe due to its age, or if it’s broken or obsolete, then it goes for recycling to extract reusable materials from it. Your mobile phone has elements that contain plastic, cadmium, nickel, copper, silver, gold, and platinum. No mobile phone could be manufactured without a blend of all these. So, extracting it to be used henceforth is the norm that the industry follows. One refurbished phone means one less new phone manufactured. 

Who Recycles Mobile Phones?

The off-line and online market are both flooded with mobile recycling options. There are many companies who accept your phone for charity purposes also. Many electronics stores also accept phones for recycling. Depending on where you live, you may have to drop it off to a store or perhaps send it through a pre-paid postal service provided by these companies. 

Can You Get Cash For Your Old Phone?

There are some options that could fetch you some cash, while there are others that don’t pay. Mobile phone operators, charity points, and electronics stores generally do not pay you for getting your phone recycled. However, there are many websites that do offer an amount. How much it will be depends on the phone’s model and condition.

The prevailing market practice suggests that if the device is over three years old, the prices offered by a recycling company will match the offer from a second-hand mobile phone buying company. Getting a deal from a recycling company is generally easier than a deal from a second-hand mobile reseller. However, if the model is relatively new, then the situation can be reversed and the mobile reseller would offer you more. There are also mobile recycling companies that buy used mobiles for different reasons other than recycling. You may get a few pounds less than on eBay, but the ease and speed of the process might make up for the gap.

Prerequisites to Recycle Old Mobile Phones:

Irrespective of your phone’s make, model and age, how you plan to sell it or send it for recycling, there are few ‘must-dos’ before you discard your old phone. 

The last thing that you would want is to lose your precious data in the process. Getting a back-up of the data on an external hard drive or a laptop, or on google drive or any other cloud service that you use is the most critical thing that you should do first. Removing the sim card and the microSD card is also something you should remember, followed by resetting it to factory settings to erase everything that it had. 

Though a factory reset would do the job, if you had some super-sensitive data and need an extra layer of precaution to ensure that it doesn’t contain any footprints, you may also go a step further. Rewriting over the data after a factory reset and then resetting it again ensures the deepest cleaning with no traits of earlier data. It’s not difficult, but it may need a while to go through this life-cycle. A quick Google search for “completely erase data from mobile” will fetch you a number of methods to do this.