Where to Donate Your Old Cell Phones

by - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

pile of cell phones
from let's roll forums
Alright, my dears. Prepare to get your minds blown. I was not looking forward to this research, but I could not be more excited to share what I found with you.

This blog tends to avoid electronics. Honestly, they are a minefield of environmental horrors. More and more evidence shows they are made unethically, nearly nothing is made nearby, so all of your electronics have been shipped long distances. So wasteful. They are made mostly of materials that will not biodegrade anywhere near our lifetime. Wasteful. AND the market is particularly good at giving their products a short shelf life and pushing trends. So most of us get a new cell phone about every two years.

In other words, cell phones is a really tough area to do some good in. On the other hand, we all have one. I have one. I work on this blog on one. You can get them used, but the other thing we ALL need to do is think about how to responsibly dispose of our phones, so we can do a little bit of good.

Recycled and Donated cell phones are a thing (as are refurbished ones), so if you have old phones sitting around, DO NOT toss them. They might still be of some use to somebody and recycling them has a big impact. I just read if Americans recycled all of the 130 million cell phones that are tossed aside annually, we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year.

To put it another way, your recycling has power!

But that's not all! Because of the metals used, for every million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, and 35, 274 pounds of copper.

So damn! It's like we have all been throwing spare change and a gold bar into the trash.

Didn't donate or recycle last time? No point in stewing about it. Now you know better, so you can do better. Get those old phones out and let's do this:

Donate Them to Victims of Domestic Violence- One of the biggest challenges for women trying to escape domestic violence situations is that they don't have the resources, like a phone outside of their partner's to fall back on. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence teamed up with cellular recycler to recycle and reuse phones to support their programming to stop violence in the homes. All of your phone donations are either refurbished and resold (about 60%) or recycled to raise money for their programs.

Hopeline from Verizon also takes phone and accessory donations, and they either recycle the phone for money or gift the refurbished phone to domestic violence survivors. Pretty cool.

Donate to Support Healthcare Programs in Africa, Asia, and South America- Hope Phones recycles phone donations and turns one phone into up to 10 cell phones (I don't get how this works, but cool) for health workers. They send phones to 21 different countries all over the world, Their website even has the idea to do a phone drive around where you live- genius, good for the environment AND helping the world! So do it, and be the coolest.

Donate to Support Active Military- See a running theme here? People need phones! So even if it is old hat for you, someone else can and will love it. Cell Phones for Soldiers provides phones and minutes to active military (since 2004)  and they have helped over 3000 military families. Yet another amazing charity to donate your phone to, and they have all the info you need on their website.

All iPhones can be Recycled at any Apple Store- If you have an iPhone it is as easy as stopping at the store  and recycling your phone (if you have one nearby- if you don't, look up the closest one and call to ask if you can mail the phone). Their Renew program recycled 90 million pounds of materials in 2015. Think about that- 90 million pounds. Pretty cool for a company to step up in this way. Almost makes me consider an iPhone.

Recycle that Business- There are plenty of places to recycle electronics, and you can find one near you at the Consumer Technology Association website. Check out Cellular Recycler as well.

Sell It- Sites like Gazelle or Sellcell.com give you the venue to sell your phone so you can make some money and your phone can get some more use.

Your Cell Service as Buyback Programs- Verizon and AT&T among many others have buyback programs for their phones. People have pretty mixed reviews, so it may not be your best option, but it might be the most convenient choice if your phone is still relatively new on the market.

Do you see how many options there are? And how many of them you get to do something genuinely good for someone who needs it? This is a good day to be a Sunshine Guerrilla. Now let's all donate those out of use phones!


The Great Donate 2017 is on! Can you donate, gift, or recycle 2,017 items out of your house this year? The average American household has 300,000 items in it- who needs that much? No one, but there are lots of people who could use what you have sitting collecting dust.



Check out the Great Donate main page for more suggestions on what to donate and where. You will save money (by knowing what you actually have), free up space, and save so much from going into a landfill.




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