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Never Recycle Your Cell Phone Without Considering These 4 Things

recycling symbol

Recycling your cell phone is a great way to be eco-friendly and get rid of some clutter. If you kept your cell phone in a skin, it is likely in great condition to be reused by someone else. However the process is not as cut and dry as simply dropping off the phone. For your own protection, there are a few steps that should be taken before handing over the goods for proper disposal.

1.  Transfer all the information on your cell to your new cell or a cloud location so you can access it when needed. This prevents the awkward social network post about losing contacts, begging friends to send their numbers to you if they want to stay in touch

2.  Clear information on the phone turned in for safety. Many people are hesitant to turn in their old cell phones for recycling because of all the personal data that is left on the old phones. Years later a phone can be charged and turned on revealing all the information inside. For some people this means passwords, personal pictures, and more. Clearing a cell phone is not that difficult and you do not have to be exceptionally tech-savvy to accomplish the task.

Ways to Clear Your Cell Phone

  • Go to settings on your cell phone, then the general tab, then hit "reset". It may take a few minutes or a few hours to reset a phone depending on the memory in it and the make and model of the phone. This is a basic method, however certain phones require you to go into the security section and type in their password (blackberry for a Blackberry, 1234 for a Windows phone) then answer yes to reset. Old reliable Nokia's have a random reset method that begins with typing *#7370# on the dial pad, then "12345" when prompted. If your phone requires a password for reset, try 1234, 12345, or all zeros up to six as the default.
  • Remove the SIM and memory card. It is as easy as taking off the battery plate and removing the cards from their slots. Keep in mind that your information is still on these cards, so keep them safe. Often you can place them into your new phone if the make and model are the same, however do not assume that you can without checking compatibility first.


3.  Make sure your new phone is in-hand before parting with your old one. If you have ordered a new phone in the mail, do not recycle your old one until the new one is actually there. This is simply a matter of convenience.

4.  Take into consideration the source when you drop off the phone. If you are donating it, you want to know that they are not making a profit. Also, knowing whose hands the phones go into after leaving the collection site matters. If you make sure to remove all of your information, then what happens to the phone after you turn it in is of lesser concern. If the company advertised that your recycled phone is going to an abused women's shelter or to a soldier overseas, then you may want to check up and make sure it is not instead being resold to profit the collector.

Recycling your cell phone is the best way to discard of your old electronics, just make sure that you are not putting your personal information out there for anyone to access. Some places offer a monetary reward for cell phone recycling, and others are strictly a charity. Chose a recyclers that either rewards you for turning in your phone, or supports a charity you would like to donate to. For convenience, there are several companies you can find online that will accept to recycle. Just make sure you do a bit of background research.

Do not forget to order a new skin for your new phone to personalize it and keep it looking new longer.