September 15, 2022

How to recycle your phone safely

Written by kevin-c

Tips & Tricks

Electronics are big business, as I’m sure you know. But do you know how big it is? Here’s a statistic to put it in perspective: According to Consumer Reports, 1.5 billion cell phones were shipped to consumers in 2021. That's almost one cell phone for every 5 people alive, in just one year. If one year and one piece of technology can create that much e-waste, imagine how much waste has been generated from all the many electronic devices over the years.

Even worse, electronics are often full of dangerously toxic materials like toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. So just chucking your old cellphone into a landfill isn’t an ideal solution.

The good news is there are a few ways to safely dispose of your electronics. “Safely” being the key word here, because you definitely don’t want to mess around with toxic substances.

One quick thing before you dispose, trade, or recycle your electronics: Make sure you wipe all your data first (after you’ve backed up the important stuff, of course). If it’s a laptop, reformat the hard drive; if it’s a phone or tablet, reset it to factory default.

Recycle your old electronics

If there’s no use for your electronics (i.e., you’re not planning on keeping a spare, or handing-it-down), then recycling is far better than throwing them out. Luckily finding a place close by that recycles electronics is super easy. Head to, pop in your zip code, and Call2Recycle will find all the places near to you. You can even sort locations by the type of battery you need to dispose.

Also, it is good to note that big box retailers like Staples, Best Buy, and Office Depot will take your old electronics to recycle, even if you didn’t buy them there. Amazon also offers gift cards in exchange for old technology.

Donate unused gadgets

Local charities might have a big need for electronics you no longer want. Good places to start are local rec centers (especially if they offer any tech training courses), and organizations aimed at older folks, who aren’t interested in the latest and greatest. If you want to think globally, the organization World Computer Exchange provides used technology to groups and communities across the globe. Currently the WCE is accepting:

  • Tablets and eReaders with chargers

  • Smart phones with chargers

  • Digital projectors

  • Webcams, digital cameras, and camcorders

  • Digital microscopes for school computer labs

  • RAM for laptops and desktops

  • Hard drives for laptops or desktops

  • USB thumb drives and USB hub/multi ports

Gift your phone as a hand-me-down

While you may no longer have a need for your smartphone, that same phone could be put to use for a family member or friend with a TextNow SIM Card. Instead of a monthly bill, TextNow SIM Cards come bundled with free Nationwide Talk and Text. Just purchase a SIM for a one-time fee of 99¢ (with free shipping too) and you get free cell phone service for the rest of time. You read that right: a phone bill that always starts at $0/month. That's what you get with TextNow.

Isn't that a much better solution than the dump? Plus, if you have children, or are caring for a senior who doesn’t need the internet, our Talk & Text bundle doesn't include data, so it’s safe for them to use without worry. No accidental downloads or web browsing, but they'll have a phone number to always stay connected.

Looking to buy a smartphone to use with TextNow? Read this first!