Before you throw that old cell phone in the trash, or hide it away in a drawer, think again. There are actually many ways to safely and charitably dispose of a mobile phone that you are no longer using. First, you should be aware that in many places, throwing away cell phones is actually illegal because the batteries — especially in very old phones — can contain toxic metals. There are better places to get rid of them than your trash can.
You certainly don’t need to pay to recycle an old cell phone, and in fact, most companies that recycle them get paid to do so. This had led to many charities making a small amount of money by collecting old phones. There are large organizations that will take unwanted phones, but you might also want to think locally.
Many schools and local charities now have recycling programs, and they do make a little bit on each donation. The saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure certainly applies. If you can’t find a large cell phone recycling program in your area, you might consider starting a small local one, perhaps for a local public school.
Check first, since so many schools have gotten the jump on recycling them already. As people move to bigger and better phones, or smaller and better phones, there are plenty of old cell phones just waiting for a place to land, and smart schools have provided that place. Local charities may also offer computer recycling or battery recycling too.
You might also want to hang onto any accessories that you have, since things like chargers or covers can often be used with a new phone. Continuing to use accessories in good shape makes smart economic sense.