Recycle Your Old Cell Phones Online

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The Best Places to Recycle Your Phone

Taylor Numbers

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The newest cell phone has finally come out and you're ready to kiss your old mobile phone goodbye.

You probably aren't too concerned about what happens to your unwanted cell phone, as they usually make their way into a drawer, closet or the trash.

Donating old cell phones, selling your phone for cash, or sending your old phone to a recycling program are just a few environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of your old cell phone.

See how you can recycle your old phone today.

Key Considerations

  • Back up your content: If you want to keep any files from your old cell phone, such as music, photos, or documents, don't forget to transfer them! Check out our detailed guide on how to backup your phone.
  • Deactivate your phone: A key element in preparing to recycle your old phones is to deactivate it with your carrier. You can deactivate your phone online or call your carrier's Customer Service line and a representative will deactivate the line for you.
  • Unlock your phone: Once you've backed up all of your content and deactivated your phone, it's time to unlock it. Check out our guide on how to unlock your phone.
  • Remove the SIM card and memory card: The next step in preparing to recycle your phone is to remove the SIM card and any internal storage, such as an SD card. Even if you've disconnected your cell service and no longer need the SIM card, it is best to remove it, as contacts and other data may be stored on it.
  • Perform a factory reset: Now it's time to wipe that phone clean, scary right? It doesn't have to be! Simply double check that all of your info is backed up and saved, then perform a factory reset. Your phones operating system will determine how this is done.

Ways To Recycle

Imagine being able to help low-income high school students better their education, providing support to victims and survivors of domestic violence, or helping our troops call home and talk to their loved ones for free.

All of that can be accomplished simply be recycling your old cell phone. Here are some organizations that are doing just that:

  • 1 Million Project - Helping this organization is as easy as dropping off your unwanted cell phone or tablet at any Sprint store. The organization's mission is to help 1 million high school students who do not have reliable internet access at home reach their full potential by giving them mobile devices and free internet access.
  • Hope Phones - Medic Mobile recycles your phone or tablet to fund healthcare programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Organize a phone drive in your area or simply donate your own phone. Either way, you're helping them on their mission to provide health care to millions of people worldwide.
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers - This organization has provided more than 300 million phone minutes and emergency funds that have touched the lives of more than 3,100 veterans and their families. Simply take your devices to a drop-off location near you, or directly mail it to the organization.

Sell for Cash

To avoid letting your old devices end up in a landfill, there is always the option to sell your cell phone. If you're looking to make some cash off of your old devices, selling it on your own will give you the best price.

Choosing a Buyback Website

The internet is cluttered with all types of buyback sites, making selling your old devices confusing and difficult in knowing which sites to trust – that's where we come in.

Check out our comparison tool to see which one of these sites will give you the best deal when selling your phone.

As far as research, we have done all the digging for you to provide you with the most reliable site recommendations to sell your unwanted cell phone. Check out our review guides of our top picks:

Decluttr Review

  • Pros
  • Versatile for consumers as it can be used either via the website of their app
  • Gives users an instant and free valuation for their items
  • Easy to use four-step selling process
  • Benefit from super easy and free shipping with a repaid shipping label
  • Next day payment once item has been received
  • Cons
  • •It can take 7-10 business days for your items to arrive

This site purchases a wide range of electrical items through their quick and simple selling service. Sell your unwanted phone with Decluttr and get paid by direct deposit, PayPal or check!

Swappa Review

  • Pros
  • No junk devices
  • Will review device if you ask
  • Makes sure device is not stolen
  • Accidental protection option
  • Cons
  • Seller can edit listing after approval
  • Absolutely no guarantees

Swappa is a no-nonsense place for you to buy used cell phones. Swappa is a facilitator who advertises no junk devices and will even re-review the product you're looking at for your peace-of-mind. Just ask them!

Since they are simply a facilitator, you will have to rely on the owner of the device to send it on time and in the state described. Fortunately, Swappa has excellent customer reviews and seems to have no problem with ensuring devices get to their customers on-time.

Gazelle Review

  • Pros
  • No hassle free shipping kit to send your old electronic device
  • Easy to use online sales process
  • Instant quotes provided after inputing your item details
  • Quick payment received 3-5 days after the initial inspection
  • Cons
  • It might not be the best price. Check out our comparison charts before you agree to buy/sell
  • Limited choice of product for purchase depending on what they have in at the time

When you use Gazelle, you can "get real cash, real fast" when selling your current cell phone. Since its opening in 2007, this site has allowed users to sell their device in minutes and will give first-time users a $5 bonus with their first trade-in!

How to Sell

1. Choose your Phone Condition

When evaluating your phone's condition, make sure you're being honest. Being upfront about your phone's condition will help you avoid any issues with companies that don't send back your phones if it's not as described. Generally, you are asked to choose between fair, good, and excellent.

2. Compatibility

Different phones run on different radio systems. If a phone is still locked, you can only operate on it's set radio system. Those are:

  • GSM - T-Moblie & AT&T
  • CDMA - Verizon & Sprint
  • Unlocked - Compatible with any network

3. Compare Prices

Knowing how much your old phone is worth can be difficult to determine. Thankfully we have done all the work for you, so make sure to use our comparison engine before you sell your old phone.

Sell Other Unwanted Devices

Consider selling other unwanted devices such as:


If you're looking to help out you can donate old cell phones to any number of charities, not just those sponsored by the big four.

And if you're looking to put some more money in your pocket and sell your phone for cash in the process be sure to check out our comparison tools for the best offers.

3 Great Ways to Save

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