Recycling Your Old Phone

How do you celebrate Earth Day? Some people plant a tree, some people clean up their local river, and some people spend their days on the edge of the road picking up trash. All of these are great, but getting out and doing things like that isn’t easy for everyone. What can be done by everyone is learning and implementing how to properly recycle their cell phones and old electronics.

Materials that are used in Apple, Samsung, and LG phones can be recycled and turned into something with another purpose. For example, the Apple iPhone 12 is made with 98% recycled rare earth elements. Recycling a phone isn’t as easy as breaking down yet another Amazon box and putting it in your recycling bin though. Phones can contain dangerous chemicals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. Consider the below options for recycling your old phone.

1.) Resell.

List your phone on, or and get some cash for your old phone. If you don’t want to put in the grunt work of selling your phone, go to your local mall or Walmart and find a recycling kiosk like EcoATM that will give you cash on the spot.

2.) Trade-in.

  • -Companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon often offer deals where if you trade in your old phone, you can get a new one at a discount or sometimes even free.
  • -Best Buy offers a Trade-In program that trades you Best Buy gift cards for your recycled electronics.
  • -Go to and Apple will give you credit towards a new device for trading in your old Apple device.

3.) Donate.

  • is dedicated to helping students who do not have internet access at home.
  • -Secure the Call is an organization that donates phones to individuals at high risk for medical emergencies. Right now, they are focusing on sending phones to hospitals for COVID patients to use.
  • -Schedule a donation pickup online for your local Salvation Army.

So, whether you plan to resell, trade-in, or donate your old phone when people ask you what you’re doing to help the earth this year tell them that your recycling that box of old phones you have collecting dust in your closet and that they should too.

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