How to recycle cell phones
First of all, you should understand the importance of recycling your old cell phone. Do not just toss it in the trash. The phone and the battery both contain heavy metals, which are toxic and should never be sent to a landfill. If you use a phone with a SIM card there is no need to recycle. Just keep your old phone and use it for a backup, in case you have a problem with your current phone (like dropping it in the sink or the toilet). You can pop the SIM card back into your old phone and it will work right away. You will keep your number because it is tied to the SIM card, not the phone. If you use CDMA technology (like Verizon Wireless), the phone cannot be re-used without arranging with the company to activate it.
It may, in fact, be possible to sell your old phone, which is the best possible form of recycling. It gets re-used and you get paid. If you have a plain vanilla phone, it is unlikely you will be able to sell it. If your old phone has a few features, however, you can pick up some extra change. The kinds of features buyers look for are music players, high quality cameras, memory card capability, and full-fledged smart phones. If you have one of these advanced models, a Google search will quickly locate potential buyers. Posting it on Craigslist is another option. A word of caution: if you sell your phone, make sure you delete everything first. Check with your service provider or the manufacturer to determine the most effective method for clearing the memory. Just like with computers, simply selecting “delete” does not necessarily mean the item is gone.
If you are unable to sell your phone, or the price you are offered is not worth the trouble, recycling should not be difficult. Most cell phone providers, including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, will accept your phone for recycling at any of their stores. Just give it to them and they will take care of it. Call their local office first to be sure.
Another method to recycle a cell phone is my preferred method. Donate your old phone to the local shelter for battered women. They set them up so the residents can call 911 or the shelter. It gives these women a small degree of protection when they are out in the world. If you are a man, get your wife or girlfriend or sister to arrange it. For obvious reasons, shelters for battered women are reluctant to deal with men.