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How to Recycle Cell Phones

In this article, we will go over how to recycle old cell phones and what steps to take when you have decided to do so. The life expectancy of a cell phone is less than five years, given the assumption that you aren’t upgrading your device every two years to the latest technology.



Currently in this country, only 10 percent of cell phones are recycled according to the EPA.

The remaining 90 percent can likely be found in our desk drawers, garages, attics or in landfills. This is despite the fact that cell phones have the highest recycling market over any other electronic material.



These days, recycling cell phones has never been more simple. Many carriers offer a trade in program when you upgrade your device. If you’re interested in getting a little more value out of your old device and into your pocket, there are plenty of third party companies that will gladly pay you for your fully functional or old, damaged, iCloud and Google locked devices. These companies will handle the recycling process for you and often pay you much more than you would receive by trading your device in. This is especially beneficial for corporate cell phone upgrades who are dealing with bulk upgrades and often, less than normally used cell phones. Many of these companies offer Data Deletion services when purchasing your phones so your secured data doesn’t leak out into the hands of people looking to exploit that data.


When recycling your used cell phone, tablet, iPhone or iPad, it is helpful to take these few steps to ensure your data is protected and you get the most for your money:

  • If you already have your new device, take a few moments to transfer your data from your old device. There are a bunch of apps that can help ease this process. Additionally, Google and iOS have integrated a data transfer service within their operating systems.
  • Locate the settings screen on your phone and factory reset it so all your data is removed. As an added precaution, you can also remove the SIM card. These methods vary from Android to Windows and iOS.
  • If the cell phone battery is removable, you’ll want to take it out and package it separately. Often times, cell phone batteries are lithium-ion batteries, and they require special transportation for recycling, so this is especially important if using a manufacturer’s mail-back program. Third party companies can usually handle the proper destruction and disposal of your batteries as well.



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