Web Culture

7 Ways to Properly Dispose of Old Cell Phones

Tim Lenahan 17-12-2009

7 Ways to Properly Dispose of Old Cell Phones oldcellphoneAs time goes on and cell phones are more widely used, we seem to be more and more inundated with unused, outdated but perfectly usable phones.  You know where I’m coming from don’t you? You have one (or more) of those junk drawers packed full of phones and peripherals not being used!  Wouldn’t you like to find a way to either put them to use or to get rid of them properly?


I have come up with 7 ways of either putting them to use or properly disposing of them.  If you can add to the list, please do!

Keep It & Use It!

1. Pocket Watch

dispose of old cell phones

It occurred to me that I haven’t worn an actual watch for quite some time.  Why is that?  Is it because I am so poor that I can’t even afford a cheapo watch?  No.  Is it because I find watches uncomfortable?  Probably partially but that’s also not the real reason.  The reason is because I don’t need one because my cell phone keeps better time!

Well those unused phones could prove handy if your power goes off and on and your wall clock is reset.  Have one charged and available and you’ll always have the proper time whether or not you actually have a cell phone plan!

2. Flashlight

how to dispose of old cell phones


Have you ever found yourself waking up in the middle of the night thirsty and stumbling across the whole house in the dark to find the fridge?  I know I have.  Also I work nights and sometimes I want to find my way to bed when I get home after dark without turning on the overhead light waking my wife up.

Well, the solution is that soft light that your cell phone emits!  Instead of paying for a flashlight or something similar, why not just put that old cell phone back to work?  Most cell phones put off just enough soft light to at least see where you are going.  Besides they usually fit right in your pocket!

3. Digital Camera

dispose of cell phones

Everyone likes digital cameras, right?  They’re handy when you’re in a pinch and something comes up all of a sudden that you don’t want to miss.  These days, it seems that most cell phones, even somewhat older ones, have digital cameras built right in.  Surely some of the many unused cell phones you are hoarding has some type of camera built in.


Even if you can’t afford a cell phone plan, you can at least use the camera, right?  Find one that accepts an external card or USB cord so you can retrieve those photos.

4. 911 Emergency Phone

dispose of cell phones

At least in the US, all cell phone carriers are supposed to design their phones to be able to access 911, whether or not they are activated.  What does that mean for us?  Any phone we have lying around should be able to dial 911 in an emergency.  This can come in handy in many different situations.

One such situation would be anytime you are driving.  Why not keep a phone charged and in the glove box just in case?  Also, since you already keep that unactivated phone by your bed as a flashlight, just remember that in the case of a midnight intruder, the phone will double as an emergency 911 phone.  This handy feature will come in handy further down the list!


Properly dispose of it!

5.  Sell It For Cash


If you have all of those cell phones just sitting in that drawer, why not get a little extra cash for them?  Someone will actually buy used phones from me?  Yes they will!  Besides selling them on sites like eBay, here are several articles written here on MakeUseOf showing just how and where to sell your cells:

  • Venjuvo: Get Cash for Your Old Electronics and Gadgets.

6. Donate It


There are many organizations that will take your unused cell phones off you.  For instance, women’s shelters can use them as emergency phones for women in abusive situations to call 911 in the case of an emergency.  Also, senior centers and senior citizens can make use of them for the same reason (check out CharityGuide [Broken Link Removed] for some more information).


Then there are also organizations who will accept them and sell them to recycling centers to use the funds for some type of charity (check out Cell Phones for Soldiers as an example).

Want to do something good for someone else while getting rid of your cell phone clutter?  Now you have no excuse!

7. Return It


In many cases the store that you bought the phone from is obligated to receive it back again.  In some areas, retailers that sell electronic equipment need to be able to expose of it also.  Many of them will recycle or donate them for you.  This option of disposal is probably the easiest but comes with the least reward.  So it’s up to you.

There you have it!  7 things to do with those old cell phones you have sitting around.  Hey, and as a bonus, James has previously written an article about how to use your cell phone as a copy machine Turn Your Cellphone Into A Copy Machine Read More .  This can also work with unused cell phones if you have a way to get the images off them so add this to the list someplace.

Like I said, if you can add to this list, many could benefit from your wisdom.  What other things could someone do with old cell phones?

Image credits: MorgueFile.com

Related topics: Green Technology, Recycling.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Eastmobiles
    December 18, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I would add one: Give it to others who need it.

    I once bought a Nokia mobile phone, but a few weeks later I got another better one, so I decided to give it to one of my brother-in-law, he went to high school then and need a mobile phone.

    What do you think?

    • Tim
      December 18, 2009 at 6:07 am

      That's a good one! I've seen similar situations to this.