Despite my eco knowledge, it took me years to recycle my old phones, and I know I'm not alone. I did a poll on the Eco-Vegan Gal Facebook page recently and the majority of participates said they still have previous models hidden away somewhere in their homes. One person said that she keeps meaning to recyle them and another said she has been wondering what to do. The reason it took me so long to do anything, years in fact, was because I had been too lazy to download the data (phones, contacts, voice memos, contacts, etc.) and I didn't want to lose it, which I admited in an interview on this very topic.
Siel, the writer of "Do You Recycle Your Old Cell Phones?", discovered that cell phone recycling rates are "amazingly low" and speculated that "cash incentives are likely the most irresistible incentive for cell phone recycling". I agree - it wasn't until I realized that I could simultaneously sell and recyle my old phones that I finally decided to take the leap.
There are several sites that offer an easy solution on how to sell a phone. One such site is Sell Cell, which guarentees the best price - apparently you can get up to $500 for a mobile device, though the average is around $40 (not too shabby!). You can even profit from old music players and tablets, even if they're broken.
Sell Cell does a nice job outlining the environmental benefits too:
- Most of the phones are either are refurbished and sold in the US or sent for reuse in markets such as Asia, Africa, and India. Your old cell phone could give someone in the third world their first glimpse of the internet.
- It is environmentally friendly to provide a phone for reuse by someone else. If your phone cannot be resold and reused by someone else because it is broken or badly damaged and is therefore deemed by the phone buyer to be 'Beyond Economical Repair' then it is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way so it doesn't end up in a landfill site.
- Did you know that you cannot throw your old cell phone in the trash; not only is against the law, but it is harmful to the environment. Cell phones contain many dangerous persistent toxins that accumulate in the environment, including arsenic, antimony, lead, beryllium, copper, cadmium, nickel and zinc. Recycling your cell phone through a professional organisation who are regulated to ensure they are disposed of correctly.
So what do you think, are you going to dig your old cell phone(s) out and sell them? If not right now, what's holding you back? If you've already recycled them, how did you do it? How often do you buy new or refurbished cell phones and other electronics?
Photo by Scallop Holden
Disclore: though this article was sponsored by Sell Cell, my opinions are my own and are not influenced by this partnership. Financial compensation makes it possible for fresh content to be posted regularly on Eco-Vegan Gal. I'm thankful for the opportunity to write about this topic and I hope you found it inspiring and educational!