How and where to recycle or sell your old phones to celebrate Earth Day


It’s Earth Day in case you weren’t aware, and it’s the perfect time to remember the simple values of recycling electronics, turning things off when you don’t need it, or simply just remembering to make sure your burger wrapper finds the trash can when you’re finished with it. Here at Phandroid, though, we’re especially concerned with proper disposal of cellular phones.

The real truth is that we hate selling or getting rid of phones, but sometimes it has to be done. Instead of throwing them into the trash, it’s best to sell them, donate them, or trade them in. Our friends at WinSource have compiled a list of good sites and stores to keep in mind the next time you decide you don’t need your old phone or tablet (or any other piece of tech, literature, or media).

If you’re looking to just get rid of something that doesn’t have much value, recycling is a great way to go. No, you don’t have to drive 30 miles to your nearest recycling plant — lots of stores and carriers can take care of it for you! Check in with places like Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, exPhone, your carrier’s corporate store or your manufacturer’s website to see if they can take your phone off your hands. You won’t get much more than a “thank you” going this route, but at least you know your device will go through the proper channels of disposal or reuse instead of ending up in a landfill somewhere.

Alternatively, you can always sell your device. This will be a lot more popular than recycling, of course, because it means you’ll get even more money to buy that even newer smartphone or tablet. Amazon, eBay and Craigslist are all popular online marketplaces for users to sell their devices. Swappa is even better for those of us using Android devices as the site is used exclusively for trading and selling Android phones.

Gazelle is another service made specifically for phones and tablets. Don’t forget various trade-in services from retailers and carriers. For instance, Sprint will accept device trade-ins and apply the credit to your bill or a purchase. Amazon accepts trade-ins for Amazon gift cards on many different phones and tablets. Be sure to ask around at different retailers to see if they accept device trade-ins.

Failing all of that, you could just give your old smartphones and tablets to family and friends who might not be able to buy one. Think of it as a gift in that regard. Or perhaps you can make your smartphone useful to your own needs — Kevin once discussed how you could turn an old smartphone into a media player. I know I prefer my media on a separate device and my phone for actual communication and internet purposes, so that’s always something to look into. You can even donate it to a thrift store, like the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Regardless of which route you go, the message is that this beautiful place we call “Earth” should be pampered as much as possible. One person alone won’t change anything, obviously, but if everyone did their part in recycling — including phones and electronics — it would be much better off. Let us know what else you’re doing to celebrate Earth Day! PS: don’t forget to check out today’s special Google Doodle. It’s short and subtle, but it’s cool and does a good job of getting us into the spirit of Earth Day.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Verizon’s new device payment plan detailed (spoiler: far from UNcarrier-like)

Previous article

Eric Schmidt says Google Glass retail units are about another year away

Next article

You may also like


  1. I save my old devices and when I have enough, I heave them at manatees.

    1. It’s funny be to anti-environment.

      1. Only took 5 minutes for the first whiney and humorless woman to chime in. You’ll never get a boyfriend acting like this. Just how many cats do you have?

  2. Another option is donating old phones to battered women groups. Even with no service they can use them to call 911 on d1ckless men.

  3. The local Best Buy by where I live has a recycle box. And they accept old laptops to recycle too.

  4. The Earth day celebration has slowly grown in force with people who have dedicated their way of living as “stewards of the planet” instead of the mentality of Lords and Lady Inhabitants of materialistic greed. Thank goodness that more and more people are waking up.

  5. I love Craigslist. I got my Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3 (shortly after they came out) cheaper than I would have elsewhere because I couldn’t upgrade at the time for either :). $350 isn’t bad when you can’t upgrade IMO.

  6. I recycle mine on ebay for about $150.

  7. Great article, Quentyn!

  8. Toss it in the nearest trash receptacle :D There’s people working at the recycling facilities, that hand pick cellphones and other electronics out of the general trash load. If we stop placing phones in the garbage, those guys will lose their jobs…..Then their kids will go hungry. Do you like to make kids hungry?

  9. I like to celebrate Earth Day by chopping up some wood and making a nice big beefy BBQ. But when it comes to electronics… I mean I still have my old Commodore 64. It still works so I couldn’t just throw it out.

    1. You can probably get a decent price back for the Commodore in the future if you hang on to it :)

  10. Hey guys, any recommendation on where should I take my old desktop computer to for recycling? Thanks in advance :)

  11. In my area Goodwill takes Electronics working or not – some deal with Dell as i recall.

Leave a reply

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

More in Handsets