What Happens to Old Donated Phones

What happens to your old phone when you replace it with the latest tech? Does it end up in a drawer unused? Or, does it end up with the other 151 million phones that get trashed every year and end up incinerated or in a landfill in the United States? 

Around 40 percent of the countries, heavy metals in landfills come from discarded electronics. However, what happens if you instead recycle or donate your phone? 

Keep reading to learn what happens to your donated phone. 

First Things First

When you’re getting rid of old electronics, you have two options:

  1. Donate
  2. Electronics recycling

Of course, there’s the third option but is environmental pollution from electronic waste really an option? We don’t think so. However, whether you choose to recycle your phone or donate it, you need to consider data privacy. 

Companies like Certus Software provide software that can get used for mobile data erasure. Once you’ve ensured that your data is safe, you can move forward with cell phone recycling or a donation. 

The Gift of a Donated Phone

When you donate your phone, you have a few options. You can find a local resource that takes usable phones and gives them to people who need them. 

You can also give it to a friend who needs a phone. However, if your phone isn’t functioning well, you can still donate your phone. There are multiple organizations that use the money raised from recycled phones to support wildlife efforts, victims of domestic violence, soldiers, and more. 

There are even some zoos that take phone donations. 

Sustainable Living: Recycling Your Phone

The best thing to do is donate your phone and allow it to continue its life. However, if that’s not an option, your next best choice is to recycle your phone. 

The first thing a reputable recycling organization will do is check to see if your phone can get refurbished. Even if the phone can’t get refurbished, they will take it apart and sort out the valuable resources. 

While recycling electronics is a better option than simply tossing them in the trash, there are still some downsides to it. After the recycler has gotten any valuable resources from your phone, it will often get demolished by a sledgehammer and shredded on an assembly line. 

Machines will sort precious minerals from the junk, and everything gets pounded into dust. Precious metals and plastic are sorted into bags. 

One of two things will happen to these bags. First, they could be sold to a smelting operation. Or, second, they could be disposed of in a manner that limits environmental pollution. 

While this helps with the e-waste problem, it doesn’t completely eliminate the environmental impact. That’s why donating or reusing a phone is your best choice. 

Donate Your Old Phone Today

A donated phone can go on to live a new life and give someone else a phone they’ll love. It also helps reduce the environmental impact of e-waste. 

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