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Published on September 14th, 2017 | by Guest

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Recycle or Resell: What to Do with Old Mobile Tech

Cracked cell phones, out-of-date iPods, and dead tablets — you can’t just toss them. When these mobile devices have reached the end of their lives, what do you do?

Mobile devices like smartphones rely on the power of lithium ion batteries, which means they can’t go into a landfill. Luckily, old phones, tablets, and music players may still have some value after you’re done using them, and you’ve got some options when it comes to getting rid of them. Pull that mobile device out of your junk drawer and put it to work!

Keep It

If your mobile device is still working, there’s a lot of different ways you can reduce waste by continuing to use it. If you recently got a new phone, it’s never a bad idea to hold onto your old phone. You never know if it might come in handy, either for you or for a friend. While it might not be ideal to return to your old model if something happens to your new phone, it still might be a better option than buying another new phone, or having to use another phone you’re even less fond of because it’s cheaper.

Especially if you’re rough on phones, or if your children have phones, this is a good option that can save you a lot of money, even if you just end up using the phone for a few months while you wait for a better deal to come along to purchase a new phone.

Reuse It

When smartphones became the norm, our iPods became a lot less cool. Many people are still holding on to old iPods that are outdated but do the job they were built for perfectly well. If you’re in this boat, consider breaking it out and putting it back into use!

iPods can be great as dedicated media players for cars, a low-investment music player to bring with you on your run, or even repurposed as an alarm clock and radio combo for your bedside table. You might find that you actually prefer working out with your old iPod instead of your phone, especially if you use a Fitbit or other similar fitness tracker already, since iPods like the Shuffle or Nano can be smaller and lighter than smartphones. The best part is that it’s pretty easy to find inexpensive accessories for old iPods!

iPhones can also be a great music player for kids who don’t necessarily need access to the internet. Old cellphones can also be a fun toy for kids (as long as they aren’t cracked or otherwise broken in a way that could be dangerous).

Recycle It

If your device is damaged beyond repair or if you can’t come up with a good purpose for it, it may finally be time to say goodbye.

Many electronics retailers offer in-store recycling options, including Best Buy, Staples, and most major cell phone providers. You can also see if there’s an EcoATM located near you. These are typically located in malls and may offer you a small amount of cash for recycling your old phone.

You can check the EPA’s electronics recycling page to find out what all of your local options are. Whatever you do, don’t toss your phone in the garbage. Cell phones and other mobile electronics contain many valuable materials that can be reused if they’re recycled and also contain toxic chemicals that can pollute the environment if they are not properly disposed of.

Sell It or Donate It

While you might not have much luck selling other old electronic devices once you’re done with them, phones have a good chance of catching a buyer’s eye. You may be able to reclaim some of the value from your old phone, or pass it on to someone else who can make good use of it.

You’ll likely get the most value from your phone if you sell it yourself on a website like eBay or Craigslist. This takes a little more time and energy than other options, since you’ll need to create the listing yourself and manage the selling process, but you may be able to get a decent payout if your phone is in good condition. The chances are even better if you held onto the original packaging and accessories for the phone.

If you don’t want to worry about selling your phone yourself, you can sell your phone to a larger buyer, like Amazon or SellCell. Some retailers offer a trade-in credit if you pass off your old phone when buying your new phone through them. How much you’ll get for your phone depends on the condition of your phone and the type of phone you have, and it’s a good idea to shop around to see where you get the best offer.

Donating is a great option if you’re ready to get rid of your phone fast. You’ll also have more luck with donating when it comes to other mobile devices, like tablets or iPods. Donating your old but working devices gives someone who might not otherwise be able to purchase a smartphone the opportunity to have one. There are many charities where you can donate your phone, including:

Cell Phones for Soldiers
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Shelter Alliance

Another great resource for finding locations to donate or recycle your phone locally is the American Cell Phone Drive.

Saying Goodbye to Your Device

Whatever you choose to do with your old electronic devices, there are a few necessary steps to take before you officially say goodbye.

Always backup your device if there is any information you’d like to keep, like photos, songs, or phone numbers. You never know what great playlists or awesome pictures you might find on an old phone or iPod, so it’s always worth a look!

Next and most importantly, be sure to reset your phone — forgetting this step can mean all of your personal information gets passed along with your old device. Make sure your device isn’t trackable or findable anymore. Deauthorize any subscription services, like Netflix or iTunes, from being used with your account on the device as well. Check all the ports and slots in your device to make sure you don’t accidentally give away any accessories, and clean the device as well as you can. After all these steps, you can part ways with your device with peace of mind.

Cell phones and other mobile devices play a big role in our lives, and old devices can carry lots of memories, which might explain why it can be so hard to get them out of your junk drawer. However, there’s lots of ways to make use of your old mobile devices, whether it’s in your home or in someone else’s. Through recycling, reselling, or donating, you can find some value in your old favorite device.

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