with most people on Earth using cell phones, even in developing countries where there was never the infrastructure to support traditional landlines¹.
Cell phone technology is important for keeping us connected to one another, but because they contain many materials such as precious metals that can pollute the environment and damage human health, it is important to responsibly recycle them when we no longer need them. With the average cell phone user getting a new cell phone every 18-22 months or so, what we do with our used cell phones can have a major impact on the environment.
In addition to properly recycling used cell phones, another viable option is to donate your used phone to someone who can use it if it still works well. This is an excellent way to extend the life of your phone before it needs to be recycled. There are many charitable organizations that will accept donated cell phones, and they will either refurbish them for reuse or sell them to raise funds to support their mission². Some organizations will even accept broken cell phones, so be sure to research their donation guidelines.
Many of these organizations will accept phone donations by both mail and in person³. Just be sure that whoever receives your phone will responsibly recycle it at the end of its useable life.
Examples of charitable organizations that accept used cell phone donations include shelters for victims of domestic violence, zoos and other conservation organizations, animal rescue organizations, camping programs for children, schools, and programs for soldiers that allow them to keep in touch with family members at home². Most cell phone providers and manufacturers also now offer donation programs, but be sure to research what they will do with the used phones once they receive them.
To learn more about a few of the charitable organizations that accept cell phone donations, this is a great resource to start with.
Before you donate your phone, be sure to erase all of your personal data and reset the phone to the factory settings. While many organizations promise to wipe your personal data for you, you cannot be certain that this will always occur. Also make sure that you have cancelled your wireless service or transferred it to your new phone to avoid having to pay for another user’s calls.
By doing a quick online search you can easily find charitable organizations nearest you with cell phone donation programs that you might like to support.