What to do with old cell phones?

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How about trading it in for an Amazon gift card?

As I was browsing on Amazon the other day, I notice that they work with a program called Flipswap which allows you to trade in your old cell phone or iPod for an Amazon gift card. So, I decided to check it out.

Here’s how it works…

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I went back to my closet and found one of our old cell phones and started entering in the information to see what they would give me for it. At first when I searched by Manufacturer I couldn’t find my phone, but when I typed the model number in the search field it came right up. Just like they say, it only takes a couple minutes to plug the information in about the phone. They ask…

  • About the cell phone’s condition
  • If it has original packaging
  • If it has a battery
  • If you have a charger
  • For the phone’s ESN#

I assume that each one of these questions affects the price they will pay for your old phone. After I plugged all the info in, I was actually surprised to see that they were going to give me $20.25 for my phone. It is in good condition, but it is probably 3 years old and was one of the cheaper phones when I purchased it. So, getting $20 for it is a win for me! I mean what else am I going to do with an old cell phone (especially since I just bought a new cell phone online)?

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How about Recycling it?

As you probably know just throwing your old cell phones in the trash is a big no-no. According to studies, “Cell phones are potentially hazardous waste because they contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. If thrown in the trash and sent to incinerators or landfills, environmental contamination can occur from combustion and leaching into soil and groundwater.”

Which makes me wonder – if they are that bad for the environment, what kind of impact are they having on their users? But we will leave that discussion for another day.

Where to recycle old cell phones, pagers, iPods, PDA’s, etc

RecycleMyCellPhone.Org has a similar program to the Flipswap program mentioned above that allows you to mail your device to them for free.

What do you do with your old iPods and cell phones?

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16 Comments
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  1. Wow, this is a really great service that I wasn’t aware of. I’ve seen some “Cell phones for soldiers” type of dropboxes, where old phones are converted into calling cards for soldiers oversees, but didn’t know this was even another option.

    Great post, thanks!

  2. Thanks for the Amazon tip. I have a couple old cell phones hanging around. I’ve thought of recycling them, but had no idea I could “sell” them to Amazon!

  3. A lot of times you can donate it or try to sell. The amazon thing is new to me, that’s a cool find. I have just kept old phones just in case I lose the new one and need one.

  4. Great find. I have 2 or 3 cell phones taking up room in my storage closet. I think I will be spending some time on Amazon tonight.

  5. You can also recycle them at any T-Mobile store as well, or print a pre-paid shipping label linked here: http://www.t-mobile.com/Company/Community.aspx?tp=Abt_Tab_HandsetRecycling

    If they can sell your phone, the money goes to charity. If not, it’s broken down for proper recycling. But unfortunately, you don’t get $$$ like the Amazon.com way.

  6. Good find! I didn’t know about this amazon program either but will be investigating and adding it to my tinymine article on recycling gadgets for cash. I’ll be sure to link to this great post!

  7. I’ve heard of stuff like this, but my phones are usually the free ones from Sprint…so I can’t get anything for them by the time I’m done with them…several years later! :)

  8. As an active duty military member myself, I donate my old cell phone to Cellphones for Soldiers. It is a non-profit organization that recycles the cell phones for money and turns that money into calling cards for our men and women serving in the US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy serving in an overseas location (mostly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan). You can use a prepaid envolope provided by Cellphones for Soldiers or you can save them a little more by paying your own shipping.

    http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/about.html

  9. Wow, that’s great info. Thanks!

  10. Jack Smythe

    An old cellphone I understand. But why would someone want to trade their old iPod or smartphone for a pittance of an amount. An old iPod can be connected to a home hi-fi, a car system or many other uses. Even a broken iPod will fetch MUCH more on eBay than the scraps given at sites such as RecycleMyCellPhone.Org or what the electronic stores give.

    And if people are so concerned about the mercury and environment why aren’t they making a bigger efford to collect CFL light bulbs, old TVs, old thermometers, etc. Answer: because they can’t make money off the suckers as they can with phones and iPods.

  11. flipswap is a SCAM so check out complaints before you send in your cll phones.

  12. smartphones need never be dumped, they are still useful in other nonphone ways.

    I now use older smart phones as very good remotes for various tasks.

    Even use one old one to relay calls from my real phone to it…

  13. kelcylane

    we keep ours in a drawer incase we need them…i think we have 10….mor or less..

    and i just grabbed 2 of the broken/cheapest ones and tore them apart for a project…

    im putting my usb in it….hahahaha

  14. How about if you have a camera on your old cell phone – keep it and use the camera part. They are usually small enough to carry and clip to your belt, etc… or give it to your kids as a starter camera – does not cost you anything!! Have fun!!

  15. Jonathan K

    This is a great idea if you have a lot of old phones.

    However, old cell phones are a must to keep. One per line. One phone for me and one for my wife. I even keep an old chip each phone.

    @Jack Smyth, Cindy, & Paul I agree with smart phones can be used for storage & cameras as well.

    STORY: I gave away my old cell phone a few years back when I upgraded my phone (for free by the way). A couple of months later I lost my cell phone in a public place. The cost to replace it was almost $200 for a simple phone.

    @ kelcylane 10 may be a bit much but backups are definitely a must.

    Lesson learned: Always have a backup phone.

  16. Michelle

    What do I do with the info. on the cell phone or sim card before I send it off?

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