Last year I traded in three old mobile phones that had been sitting in a drawer “as spares”. Television advertisements kept telling me that I could help save the planet by recycling my old phones, and earn a fortune in the process, so I visited the website of one of the most frequent advertisers and, carrying out the simple instructions, I swapped my phones for a grand total of £15.00, not quite the fortune the adverts had implied, but at least the drawer is less cluttered.
Back then I was unaware of sellmymobile.com, the phone trade in site that compares what different sites will offer for your phone, I may well have got more than double the money for my phones if I had used it.
As for saving the world, how does phone recycling actually help? Why is an old (or even broken) phone worth something to these companies? Essentially it comes down to minimizing hazardous waste and avoiding unnecessary manufacturing of phones and parts when plentiful supplies are stored in the drawers of us western consumers.
Mobile phones, like many electrical devices, contain materials considered dangerous to the environment, such as cadmium, mercury and lead, and therefore should not be disposed of as general waste but rather through an authorised waste management company, many phone retailers will dispose of – or recycle – your old phone for you if you do not want to make any money from it.
Working phones acquired by “cash for your mobile” companies are typically shipped to, and sold in, a developing or emerging country in Africa, South America, the Middle East or Asia. Phones of poorer quality will more probably be broken down into component parts which are suitable for selling and, beyond that, any remaining phones or parts are then recycled or disposed of in an appropriate manner.
To get the best value for a phone it is also worth seeing what similar models are selling for on eBay, selling phones there is more complicated than filling out a form and popping your phone into the post in a pre-paid envelope, but if you wanted to get the best price for something like an iPhone it would be wise to check eBay as well as sellmymobile.com
At the end of the day the money may not be much, but the habit of recycling things we no longer use is a good one, both for the economy and for the environment.