It has been estimated that in the UK the average mobile phone user replaces a phone almost every two and a half years. Anecdotally, many mobile users talk of replacing their handsets every time a contract (which typically lasts for eighteen months) runs out. Given this, it is clear that there are a lot of discarded mobile phones out there – one estimate puts the number of unused mobile phones in UK households alone at eighty million. But rather than leaving your old phone to gather dust in a drawer, what else can you do with it?
One option is to donate it to charity. There are many charities that can make good use of your old mobile phone. For example, Oxfam will either have the phones refurbished for use overseas or they will send them to a recycling company in exchange for cash. The UK based charity Refuge also refurbishes phones for use in developing countries. The Red Cross state that for every phone donated they can make up to thirty pounds, so this gives some idea of how valuable a revenue stream such donations are becoming to charities. Other charities make different uses out of old phones. For example, homeless shelters may provide refurbished phones to residents for emergency use.
Donating an old mobile phone to charity is a simple process. For popular charities the easiest way to donate might be to simply call into the store with the phone. Otherwise, most charities are more than happy to send out a stamp addressed, pre-paid jiffy bag: just pop the phone into the bag when it arrives and put it in the post.
If you donate the phone to charity you are not only helping the charity: you are also helping the environment. As the charities refurbish the donations, you are ensuring that an old phone doesn’t go straight to a landfill site and it means one less new phone is sold.
Alternatively, you can sell your old phone to a phone recycling company. Prices offered by these (mainly web-based) companies vary. The websites will state the price offered for a particular make and model of phone. If you accept, you can give your address via a form on the site and the company will usually post you out a pre-paid envelope. Send the phone on to the company when the bag arrives and they pay on receipt of the phone. While this option may be less altruistic than donating a phone, it is good for the environment – the phone will not end up in a landfill site just yet!