What can I do with my old or broken cell phone?

The answer is simple. You can dump your old gear in the trash. You can recycle it. You can donate it to charity or you can sell it. You can also fix your your old phone if it’s broken and save it for a rainy day.

Trashing Your Old Cell Phone

Electronic waste is nasty stuff. These days, most communities have fairly strict regulations that govern the disposal of unwanted cell phones. If you’re thinking of disposing of your old handset, it’s best to consult your local government to find out how you can comply with their restrictions.


If your Smartphone is at the end of its useful service life or is broken and unrepairable, you’ll need to dispose of it responsibly. Here are links to programs and places that can help you recycle your phone.

Recycling Programs offered by Non-profit & Charitable Organizations

Many non-profit and charitable organizations have very active recycling programs. Here are links to some of the more prominent programs:
Charitable Recycling
Recycle My Cell Phone

Recycling Programs offered by Governmental Agencies

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Recycling Programs offered by Industry Trade Associations

The Consumer Electronics Association
The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry (aka CTIA)

Recycling Programs offered by Smartphone Manufacturers

LG Phones

Recycling Programs offered by Wireless Service Providers

Alaska Communications System
Verizon Wireless
Wireless Cell Phone Battery Recycling Program

Recycling Programs offered by Smartphone Retailers

Best Buy
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Sam’s Club

Donating Your Old Cell Phone

If you’re thinking of donating your old cell phone to a charitable organization, consult your accountant or tax preparer first. Your contribution may be tax deductible so let them evaluate the tax implications of any potential gift. They can provide you with timely and accurate advice. Always remember to get a receipt with every donation you make. Here’s a list charitable organizations that accept old cell phones:
Cell Phones for Soldiers
Charity Guide
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Phones For Life
Recycling for Charities
The Wireless Foundation

Selling Old Cell Phones

Here are some on-line places to sell your old phones:
eBay Inc.
ECS Refining
PaceButler Corporation

Wipe Your Old Phone Clean Before Getting Rid of It

Before you donate, sell or trash your old cell phone it’s important that you wipe it clean of your personal data. Here’s a handy set of on-line videos that provide step-by-step data wiping instructions for most of the popular cell phones on the market.
Wipe it clean videos

Repairing Broken Cell Phones / Cellphone Repair Services

If your phone gets damaged or brakes while it’s still under warranty, return it to your wireless provider for immediate repair or replacement at no cost. Do the same if it’s out-of-warranty but be prepared to pay for the repairs yourself. Under some circumstances, your service provider may refer you to an authorized repair center that’s nearby to do the work. Some might be tempted to directly contact the Smartphone manufacturer to make repairs. In the US, Smartphone manufacturers usually rely on wireless service providers to repair their customers’ broken phones. Apple seems to be the only exception. They handle any and all repairs themselves. The cost of repairing Apple phones is quite high. It’s an open question if Apple’s pricing is designed to encourage customers to purchase an extended warranty or buy a replacement phone instead of repairing their old one. If the cost of repairs quoted by your service provider is too high, you may want to shop around for a reputable repair shop in your neighborhood. You might also want to use these on-line repair services.
Cellular DR
The Phone Doctors

Keep your Old Phone for a Rainy Day.

Instead of recycling, donating or selling your old phone, you may want to keep it around and use it as a spare. You never know when your brand new phone will get lost, stolen or broken. If you have your old phone handy, you’ll be able to use it to get you through the emergency. It’s also a great way to save money. Keeping your old phone around is much cheaper than paying for an extended warranty.