How to properly dispose of cell phones? (5 options) 

The article discussed several ways in which cell phones can be discarded in eco-friendly ways to make sure that the environment is not harmed in any way. The options included 

  • Recycling 
  • Upcycling 
  • Trade in 
  • Donating old phones 
  • Repurposing 
  • Precautions associated with disposing of old cell phones 

How to properly dispose of cell phones?

The correct disposal of cell phones is an important question to be pursued because if there is no correct disposal, there will be negative effects on the environment and life that will include

  • Resource exploitation
  • Waste generation
  • Pollution
  • Contamination
  • Effects on groundwater reservoirs 
  • Bioaccumulation of hazardous substances
  • Air infiltration

Therefore, we need to acquaint ourselves with the right practices of discarding cell phones. When it comes to that, the first option that needs to be shed light on is ironically not the disposal but other options. 

This is because the disposal of cell phones means the addition of not only non-biodegradable material into the system but also the addition of hazardous waste because used cell phones, along with other e-waste, are categorised as hazardous waste and must be dealt with properly. 

Therefore, there are other options at our disposal that must be given greater priority. These options include

  • Recycling 
  • Trade-in 
  • Repurposing 
  • Donating 
  • Gifting it to a loved one

All these options ensure that the cell phones are not discarded but rather are dealt with in a proactive manner so as to make the most of the available resources while also efforting to minimise waste generation. 

Let us shed light on all these options in slightly more intensity. 


The first option we have is the recycling option. Mobile phones are as much as 80% recyclable because of the materials that make them up. 

Therefore, it will be a good option to consider recycling cell phones because it means that non-biodegradable and hazardous waste is not added to the environment. 

However, the recycling of mobile phones is not that simple. Because cell phones are categorised as e-waste and e-waste is regarded as hazardous waste; you can not put your old cell phones in every recycling bin. 

You need to filter out some specifics before. You can always have a look at recycling ventures such as:

  • Best Buy 
  • Earth911
  • TerraCycle 
  • Call2Recycle 

All these platforms can be approached for the recycling and trade-in of your old cell phones. If your cell phones are fairly recent, you can also get some recompense for having your cell phones recycled through these platforms. 

Take Back programs 

Many mobile manufacturers also offer various take-back programs wherein you can give your old phones and either get some recompense or replace it with a newer model after paying the due credit. 

A complete list of such options can be retrieved from the Environmental Protection Agency. However, if your manufacturer does not offer to take-back programs, you can always rely on third-party options that work just the same. 


One of the things that you can do is repurpose your electronic devices. This means that better utilisation is practised and less waste is generated. For example, consider you have an old PC that you can no longer use for up-to-date tasks. What you can do instead is to reserve it for other tasks that may not require that functional rigour. 

Local trade-in 

Trade-in is also a decent option for getting rid of your old cell phone while also making some extra bucks from it. There are options such as Best Buy wherein you can trade in your old cell phones by either going to the store outlets or exploring their online trade-in options.

However, Best Buy is not the only trade-in platform. There are hundreds more. If you think that the option of trading in or recycling at Best Buy is exhausted for you, you can check with local stores. Chances are that these stores will also accept trade-ins or at least recycle your used electronic devices for good value. 

Donating or giving it to a loved one

If discarding or recycling is not your forte, you can also consider gifting your used electronic devices to your family members or donating them. 

What is non-valuable to you may be of good value to them as they may repurpose it better. If not, then at least, they can recycle or trade it in and get decent recompense against it. 

What precautions do you need to follow while disposing of cell phones?

Another factor that needs to be covered is the possible precautions that need to be followed when it comes to the disposal of cell phones. By following the given precautions, you will make sure that both the environment and life are saved from the detrimental effects of not doing so. 

  • Remember not to dispose of old cell phones with your regular waste. Cell phone waste is categorised as hazardous waste and must be given to household hazardous collection centres or programs. 
  • Before the disposal of cell phones, make sure to remove the battery as it can explode under the right conditions such as high temperature or pressure.
  • Be sure to remove all your personal data prior to the disposal of your cell phones. 
  • You also need to ensure that you do not simply throw away your old cell phones in the ground as the chemicals and heavy metals present such as lead or mercury may leach into the ground and cause soil and groundwater pollution. 
  • The incineration of cell phones would lead to the emission of harmful fumes that will most likely cause air pollution and play a part in environmental anomalies such as global warming, climate change and the greenhouse effect. 
  • The best disposal is not disposal but recycling or reusing as explained in the previous sections. 
  • Various manufacturers such as Apple or Samsung have take-back programs that can be depended upon to avoid disposal and therefore, pollution. 

What kind of waste is cell phone waste?

Cell phone waste is termed hazardous waste because there could be health and environmental implications caused by the incorrect disposal of cell phones. Therefore, one needs to ensure that cell phones are given to hazardous waste collection facilities to make sure that there are no blunt and blatant impacts on people and the planet. 

Further, the reason why cell phones are regarded as hazardous waste is the fact that there are heavy metals and other corrosive materials used that can impact badly. 


The article discussed various ways in which cell phones can be disposed of in eco-friendly ways. The options included recycling, upcycling, take-back programs, repurposing, and local trade-ins. 

The article also discussed several tips and precautions that are associated with the disposal of cell phones to make sure that both the environment and people are not harmed or damaged in any way. 


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