Odds are you have an old cellphone wasting away somewhere in your home, its components in various states of health. Maybe the battery only lasts a few hours, or the screen looks like it was mauled by a wildcat, or the power button has been jammed for months. But you don’t have to throw it away! That pathetic piece of tired technology has the potential to be useful to someone in need.
Whether you want to support a noble cause or you’re just looking to empty your junk drawer and deplete your stockpile of last year’s models, there are plenty of ways to ensure a worthwhile afterlife for your old gadgets. Here are five of our favorite solutions you might consider:
- 1. Call2Recycle – For 20 years, this nonprofit organization has been collecting and recycling batteries and cellphones at no cost to the consumer. Call2Recycle has diverted more than 100 million pounds from the solid waste stream on behalf of individual users, small businesses and major corporations. You can drop off your old cellphones and batteries at one of more than 30,000 collection centers located throughout North America.
- 2. Cell Phones For Soldiers – Since 2004, this nonprofit organization has provided more than 213 million minutes of talk time to active-duty military members and veterans. Through charitable donations, roughly 3,000 calling cards are delivered each week, giving soldiers across the globe a cost-free way to call home. The program also accepts newer or gently used cellphones from all carriers, which you can either send in the mail or drop off at a location near you.
- 3. Hope Phones – Alongside parent company Medic Mobile, this campaign seeks to divert and put to good use some of the nearly half a million cellphones sent to the landfill each year in the United States. By recycling your gently used phones or organizing a local donation drive, you can help Hope Phones fund necessary technological advances in global health care.
- 4. Eco-Cell – If you’re looking for a program with the sole focus of protecting our environment from the poisons of technology, this is the one for you. Eco-Cell pays you to recycle a vast array of gadgets, from first-generation cellphones to outdated circuit boards. The organization will send you a check for your donation and do its best to refurbish and resell your stuff in developing markets; otherwise it will be recycled and kept out of the garbage dump.
- 5. Best Buy Recycling – Best Buy allows you to trade in your functional cellphones and other gadgets and appliances for store credit. You can figure out what’s allowed in each state by going to the program’s website. Similar to Eco-Cell, if your gadget isn’t able to be reused, Best Buy will still recycle it on your behalf.