Give Second Lives To Your Old Cell Phones

Old cell phones you’ve got piled up in that drawer could do some good for others. There are ample options for donating or recycling the outmoded devices.

VolunteerGuide runs down your options, suggesting senior citizen homes and women’s shelters as worthy recipients. Schools can also usually benefit from the donations.

When donating your phones, try to dig up their chargers in order to make them more immediately usable. It’s also wise to get rid of any photos and personal information on the devices.

There are also recycling services that will take the devices off your hands. and GRC Wireless Recycling are a couple options that came up on a quick search.

Cell Phone Recycling: Donate Your Old Mobile Phone [VolunteerGuide]


Edit Your Comment

  1. mister_roboto says:

    I always keep my previous cell phone- for “just in case” destruction of my shiny new (to be outdated in a few months) 2 year contracted cell phone.

    • Kestris says:

      Same here. Except the one before my shiney new HTC Arrive was a piece of crap(that Eco friendly one made from 60% corn , can’t remember the name, but it was bright green) towards the end so I recycled it at the Sprint store. I still have my original Katana though. That phone I’ll keep.

  2. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    In my area, you can donate them to the women’s shelter. The phones are refurbished and I think they can be used to call 911 without a service provider. If I get a new phone, I put the old phone, instruction book, and chargers in a ziploc bag and save it for donation time.

  3. homehome says:

    I have that phone on the right, it’s screen is broken, only reason I haven’t gotten rid of it is that it has stuff on it that I don’t want in anybody’s hands.

  4. Cat says:

    I doubt anyone would want my old Nokia 5125 Tracfone.

  5. framitz says:

    I deactivated my Samsung Intercept when I got a new phone.

    I rooted the Samsung, removed the bloat, loaded it full of apps for kids (via WiFi), put it in airplane mode, and gave it to my 4 year old grand daughter.

    She loves it and plays with it for hours at a time, the battery life in airplane mode is amazing.

    Heck if she lost it, I’d probably spend the $100 to get her another just like it.

    That phone hasn’t gone to waste.

  6. The Twilight Clone says:

    Believe it or not, I still use a Nokia 3390. It’s ten years old.

    • MJDickPhoto says:

      and it’s a fricken tank of all cellphones.

      used more bandwidth then newer phones, so holds a signal.

      decent battery life, about a week, even with use.

      Parts were cheap and easy to find

      Welcome to “PingPong Messaging” aka advent of text messaging

      was built to last, I got upset and through mine at a wall, where it went THROUGH the sheetrock down into the wall. only reason we retrieved it was that it kept ringing. got it out, $1 for a new casekeyboard combo, and back in the pocket for more abuse.

    • Skipweasel says:

      The wife’s still using a Nokia 3210. I’m a bit more up with the times, but only as far as a Motorola Pebl.

  7. mauispiderweb says:

    Still using a Moto V490, since my HTC Touch Pro 2 pretty much sucks at this point.

    • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

      Geez, I’m sorry you had to deal with that brick of phone, the TP2, I have the TP1.

      • mauispiderweb says:

        It was great while it lasted. I still use it, but only for reading books and listening to music.

  8. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Your local women’s shelter will be glad to take it since it can still be used to dial 911. It could save an abused woman’s life.

  9. MacUser1986 says:

    Old phones are good for emergency 911 devices, they work for that even after the service has been discontinued.

  10. shepd says:

    If you have VoIP and no cellphone, keep the phone without service (and keep it charged). Next time you find you have a power outage *and* a need to call 911, the phone will work (911 ALWAYS works, whether the phone is paid for or even has a SIM, so long as there’s service).

  11. Outrun1986 says:

    If you have a Verizon phone you can put it on page plus and use it as a prepaid phone provided it has a clear ESN. You can do this with GSM phones too on other carriers depending on what area you live in, its just that page plus works best for this area.

  12. The Twilight Clone says:

    From a purely technical standpoint, I doubt many of these ancient phones can be used at all, even for 9-1-1 calls at womens’ shelters. The battery will be completely dead and unusable after several months of non-use. It cannot be charged. A new battery will cost money, so what would be the point?

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Lithium-ion batteries don’t have this problem, and they’re what are used in most cellphones.

  13. speaky2k says:

    A few years ago I had a RAZR phone and so did my girlfriend at the time. We were both on the same network, so when one of our phones had a problem we could switch sim’s & use our phones no problem. A few weeks ago my dad’s phone died and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep the plan he had or go to a pre-pay. I gave him my old RAZR and it worked for him for the few weeks until he canceled his old service & went pre-pay. I keep my old phones for a just in case type of thing. However since a lot of people, including me are now on pre-pay, since they are a better value, I don’t know how much more I will be keeping my old phones since there is no sim to switch any more.

  14. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    I still have one of those brick cell phones. Sure, doesn’t have apps, and all of that stuff, but its damn near indestructable.

  15. tbax929 says:

    I mailed my Evo (can’t use because I’ve left Sprint) to Amazon and they gave me a nice-sized gift card for it. I know the Evo isn’t outdated, but I had no other use for it, and I’m not comfortable selling on ebay or craigslist.

  16. RayanneGraff says:

    Ha, I have the phone on the right.

  17. Jay911 says:

    All those of you advocating giving people deactivated phones to call 9-1-1 with, let me just say this.


    Deactivated (no SIM) phones:
    – have no telephone number we (9-1-1 operators) can call back if the caller gets disconnected (a frequent problem with cell calls)
    – do not provide their location like registered phones do
    – may still be traceable back to you if we have to get the cell provider to dig up the electronic serial number (which is the only identifier we will get to figure out whose phone it is/who is calling), causing you to get unnecessary calls and diverting emergency services’ attention away from the true emergencies

    A huge amount of calls – by far the majority of 9-1-1 calls today – consist of “open cell” calls where someone’s arse or keys or children are mashing down on the keypad and dialing the “one touch emergency” feature. Even when a phone is locked, or in “airplane mode”, some models (particularly Blackberries) will override the lock/airplane mode to initiate a 9-1-1 (or “SOS” or “112”) call. This ties up 9-1-1 centers in a huge way as we have to call back all that we are able to, to confirm there is no emergency.

    Disable the one touch emergency dial/9-1-1 speed dials in your phones, and don’t give deactivated phones to kids to play with, nor keep them or give them to others for “9-1-1 calling just in case”. If you are donating them to an agency who wants to use them for emergency use, ensure they will be taking appropriate steps to make sure the phone is used properly and can identify the caller’s location and maintain contact with them in an emergency.

    If you ever have to call 9-1-1, and you get the “all operators are busy” message, just remember, odds are excellent it’s because 60% of the operators are on the phone shouting “Hello?! Hello?!” into somebody’s pocket or purse.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      That’s an excellent idea, because providing absolutely no ability to call out in an emergency is a much better idea than providing a flawed ability to call out in an emergency.

      Since, you know, a 0% chance of calling for help is clearly superior to even a 50% chance.

  18. Digitizer says:

    I still have the one on the…..left! Heavy one….