Old mobile phone

076: Send your old phones to a charity

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

Many charities can sell, reuse or arrange to recycle old phones

This action benefits our charities and makes sure old equipment is disposed of safely!

When we buy new phones, all too often the old ones get left in a drawer somewhere. Not long ago in a cupboard at work I found – all nicely boxed up – about ten Nokias that had just been forgotten about, but that work perfectly.

Old equipment should be reused where possible, or needs to be recycled safely. Old phones contain important rare resources (rare metals) as well as plastics which break down into polluting microplastics when your old handset ends up in landfill.

We are getting a little better at reusing and recycling, but there is still a long way to go!

In the UK at least – and I suspect in other countries too – there are companies that will take these old phones and refurbish or recycle them safely. Many will pay a small amount for the old handsets, and have arrangements with charities who can benefit from this.

Here is just one example of a scheme, there are many more, just search for “old phones for charity” in your browser.

Phone disposal and the environment

  • worldwide it is estimated that less than 15% of used phones are properly recycled
  • the plastic, rare earth elements, and other materials poison the environment and landfill
  • proper recycling has the potential to recover the rare elements and recyclable plastic
  • batteries are dangerous if not disposed of properly

By sending your phone to a charity that has made arrangements for reuse or proper recycling you can be confident your phone is not going to end up in a landfill, which has got to be good for everyone!

What’s not to like!

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