Five things to do with old cell phones
- Repurpose it: Hack it, modify it, use it in a project.
- Activate it: Pass it on or use it as an emergency phone.
- Give it away: Plenty of charitable organizations would love to have it.
- Sell it: Make a few bucks if it still has some life.
- Recycle it: Find a reputable recycler.
If you’ve got old cell phones collecting dust in a drawer, you are certainly not alone. With hardware upgrade cycles being what they are, we’ve probably all got a few kicking around.
Rather than trashing them or leaving them to collect yet more dust, here are five things you can do with an old device.
What to do with your old cell phones
If it’s an older smartphone, there are all kinds of cool projects you can get into. You can turn it into a dedicated media player for in the car. You could make it a dedicated alarm clock. You could turn it into a dedicated VoIP device. These are all simple projects that don’t require any hacking. To really unlock the power of your old smartphone, just Google: “hack (your phone model)” and see what comes up.
Activate it anew
If the phone is still working, you can activate it for yourself or for someone in your family. If you have an eligible device and you’re a Ting customer, you can keep a device active on your account for $6/mo. Just go to the Bring your Device to Ting page and follow the steps there to activate your device.
It’s also not a bad idea to keep a spare, unactivated phone on hand as a backup, just in case something happens to your main device.
Give it away
If your phone still has some life in it but you won’t use it, consider donating it to a charity. Programs like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Cell Phones for Soldiers will find your old (working) phone a new and appreciative home. You can also check with your local shelters to see if they’d like to take the device off your hands.
How Stuff Works has a list of charities that accept cell phones and some interesting insights to share on the subject.
If it’s an older phone you’re no longer using but not one that’s obsolete, sell it on. You can sell a device using Glyde or with one of the other used device middleman services.
If you choose to take on the work yourself and sell with eBay, Kijiji or Craigslist you’ll get to keep all of the proceeds of the sale instead of a cut. Whether the hassle is worth the extra money is your call.
If none of the above solutions work for you – perhaps your phone is broken beyond repair or completely obsolete – you’ll have to dispose of it. However, the trash barrel isn’t the right place; it’ll need to be recycled.
There are some less than reputable electronics “recyclers” out there that prey on your good intentions. The best bet is to consult the EPA’s Electronics Donation and Recycling page to find what recycling options are available to you.
Do you have other tips for things to do with old cell phones? How many mobile devices do you have collecting dust? Let us know!