How To Reuse, Recycle or Sell On Your Old Mobile Phone

  • You might be in the market for a new mobile phone. If you are you have come to the right place. Money Pug can help you find the very best deals on all the latest devices. But if you are going to get a new phone, the question remains – what should you do with your old one? Here are some tips on how to recycle, reuse or sell on your old mobile phone:

Why Should I Reuse or Recycle or Sell On my Mobile Phone?


A mobile phone is an expensive item – not only in financial terms but also in terms of resources, and in terms of how much it has cost out planet. Mobile phones are intricate pieces of technology, containing a number of valuable metals and other materials that have had to be mined somewhere in the world. When you truly take a moment to really think about where your mobile phone comes from and what it takes to get these useful devices into your hands, it is truly staggering.

It is practically criminal to let all that effort and energy expended go to waste by letting an old mobile phone languish in a drawer, or, worse yet, end up in landfill. Making sure that a mobile phone keeps going as long as possible is the best way to honour the people and resources that have contributed to making it in the first place.

Even putting aside all that, reusing your mobile phone, or selling it on so that someone else can make use of it if you just want to upgrade, makes sound financial sense. When you have invested in a phone, it makes sense to save those pennies and keep it going as long as possible – even after it is no longer used as your main device.

How Can I Recycle My Mobile Phone?

  • If your mobile phone is old, and truly beyond repair, and you have ensured that all of your personal data has been properly removed from the device, you can recycle it through a number of avenues. For example, you can:

  1. Put your device in the ‘small electricals’ bin at the local recycling centre. The council/ local authorities will be able to recoup costs by recycling some of the valuable materials in your old phone.
  2. Pass your mobile phone to a charity. Charities often want mobile phones – even completely non-functioning ones. This is because they can raise valuable funds by passing them on to mobile phone recycling companies.

  • Most mobile phone recycling schemes will work to recycle all the different recyclable parts of the devices. Up to around 80% of a phone can be recyclable. Often, the following materials and components can be recovered:

  1. Separate metals (including precious and semi-precious metals such as silver etc..)
  2. Outer body plastic, which may be granulated and reformulated for use in mouldings.
  3. Valuable components such as flash memory devices (which can be recovered and downgraded)
  4. Useful parts (for reuse) including LCD screens, lenses, PCBs, connectors, keyboards, microphones, screws, phone housings, SIM assemblies and speakers…

Many manufacturers have signed up to the Basel Convention and agreed to cooperate with developing eco-friendly management to the end-of-life processing of mobile phones.

Could I Trade In My Old Mobile Phone?

If you are going to be buying a new phone, you may be able to trade in your old device rather than just leaving it lying around, cluttering up your home or languishing in some drawer. After shopping around to find the best deal on Money Pug’s website, you could consider heading down to the high street to make your purchase. When you buy a new mobile phone in a shop, ask how you can recycle your old one. Most provide postal envelopes that you can use. You may even get cash for your phone or a deposit towards a new handset. It is worth looking for trade-in deals as sometimes you can get a considerable amount off a new device when you trade in old ones of certain models.

If your unwanted phone is in good working condition and relatively up-to-date technology, you may also be able to trade your old handset for cash at shops like Cash Converter and CeX, especially if you have the box it originally came in, instructions etc… There are a number of companies who will buy your old phone from you directly, so you don’t have to sell it independently online. Be warned, however, you may not get as much as you could get by selling your phone independently, so be wary of taking this route.

Could I Sell My Old Mobile Phone Online?

You can pass on your phone for someone else to use it by using one of the online marketplaces to sell or give away your old mobile and give it a second lease of life. It is best only to try to sell your phone if you know that it is in good working condition. Remember, it is very important to tell the truth about the condition and operability of your old mobile. You could get into trouble if you are dishonest in your listing – to make sure you explain exactly what you are offering as truthfully as possible. Sites like eBay and Gumtree allow you to list your old mobile for sale.

If your phone is not working that well and not worth that much, but still functional in some ways, you could also consider making a listing on Freegle or Freecyle and giving your phone away for free to someone who may find a use for it.

How Can I Reuse My Mobile Phone?

  • If your mobile phone is still functional, but you want to upgrade, you could also consider keeping it for yourself and putting it to another use around your home, or in your car. Even when mobile phones are older and even if they lose some functionality, they can often still be used in a number of ways for dedicated tasks around your home.

For example, you could use an old smartphone as:

  • A Security Camera
  • A Universal Remote For a Smart Home
  • A Dedicated Portable Gaming Device (For kids or yourself)
  • A Dedicated GPS Device for your Car or Bike, or for Hiking
  • A Dedicated Music Device for your Vehicle
  • A ‘Practice’ Phone for Young Children.
  • A Dedicated Device for Video Calls in Your Home Office
  • A ‘Photo Frame’ to show photos or stream webcams to enhance home décor.
  • An Alarm Clock or Desk Calendar.
  • As a processor for scientific research projects such as SETI using BOINC (Android) or use DreamLab (iOS) to help cure cancer.

Even older phones can be reused or repurposed by those with tech savvy and some electronics skills. For example, old Nokia ‘dumb phones’ can be used to make smartwatches.

Whether you recycle, gift or sell your old mobile phone, or decide to hang onto it and use it yourself, make sure you are not one of the many people in the UK who simple allow their old devices to sit unused and unloved in a corner of their homes. These are costly devices, and should live as long and as useful a life as possible.

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