It seems like it doesn’t need to be said, but you should never just toss your old Android phone in the trash. Whether or not you can get money out of it, it’s always a good thing for an old phone to be recycled and repurposed into a new one down the road. This guide will give you some options to recycle your old Android phone – and who knows? You may even make some cash from it.
Choosing to recycle your old Android phones is nothing but a good thing. Here’s how recycling a phone works.
You hand in your old phone to a company or service, and they (might) give you money. That phone is then either refurbished and sold or systematically broken down, with certain parts and pieces being repurposed as raw materials or components in new devices.
Doing this accomplishes a few positive things. That refurbished device either goes to someone who needs a decent phone for a pretty good price, ideally, or the components in that phone are reused. In both scenarios, almost nothing in that phone goes to waste.
In all reality, phones are incredibly expensive. If you can let your old one go through one of these processes, it can make it easier for more people to afford a device. Eventually, mass recycling could even bring down the cost of new devices. Companies like Google and Samsung make at least a small effort to incorporate recycled materials in their devices, although those materials usually start as something other than a phone component.
Options for recycling your old Android phone
Thinking of it as only having two options – trashing the device or recycling it – makes deciding to throw away a device so much easier. But when you take a step back and look at all of your recycling options, suddenly, it almost becomes easier to recycle them.
Here are just a few options you have to recycle your old Android phone:
- Sell it
- Drop it off at a recycling kiosk or location
- Trade it in for a new device
- Send it back to the manufacturer
All of these options are good ones for getting rid of devices that are just sitting around, collecting dust. In fact, three of the four options listed above include getting paid in exchange for the device. The only option where this doesn’t happen is if you willingly send your device back to the manufacturer.
Type: Before you do any of these, make sure to factory reset your device.
1. Selling your device
It doesn’t matter how old your device is, there is always someone out there willing to pay something for it. Selling your devices is generally pretty easy to do, and there are tons of sites capable of letting you do that while protecting you and the buyer.
In general, we recommend Swappa for selling your device to someone who may be interested. There are a couple of fees involved, but the staff is generally very good about making sure you get your money from the individual buying, as long as you follow the rules.
If you’re looking to recycle your Android device without going through the hassle of a sale, Decluttr is a great option. Instead of selling your devices to someone to use, Decluttr takes devices and refurbishes or recycles them for you. Once you start the process, you’ll get a welcome pack with a label so you can box up your device and ship it out to them. After arrival, your device will be inspected and you’ll get paid.
2. Dropping your device off at a location
While selling a device online can get you a little bit more money, dropping your old Android phone off to be recycled at a trade-in kiosk can be a much easier solution. There is no third party to deal with, and the transaction is incredibly fast.
A popular service to use is called ecoATM. EcoATM has kiosks in major areas that let you take your phone, drop it off, and get cash. The only downside here is that there isn’t a set value for each device. Rather, you need to bring your phone and let the kiosk scan it to determine its value. If you get a pretty good offer, you can accept it and get cash.
If the device is beyond repair and you don’t think you’ll get money from it, you can always bring it to Best Buy. Best Buy has a “no questions asked” device recycling program that allows you to take your old phone and set it free. Of course, Best Buy doesn’t offer monetary compensation like some of the other options around.
3. Trading your device in
When a new phone comes out, most OEMs are willing to accept device trade-ins to lower the cost of the new device. Sometimes, manufacturers even increase trade-in values to entice you to turn in your old devices.
For instance, when the Pixel 6a was released for customers to purchase, trade values for older Pixels went through the roof, making you seem insane swimming to trade in your old device. This effort goes towards a better environment since trading in your old phone means that one can be repurposed and used again someday.
These trade-in programs are not limited to Google. Just about every major OEM and carrier has a program where you can send in your old device to get a better price on a brand-new one. This is an easy way to get a great discount.
4. Sending the device to the manufacturer
Alongside trade-ins, most OEMs also accept old devices shipped right to their door. From there, they’ll be able to repurpose or recycle the device and turn it into a new one down the road. Here are a few programs from major companies:
Each of these programs varies in certain ways since it’s up to the manufacturer on how to implement the program. Out of these three, Google’s program seems to be the easiest to take part in. Unfortunately, these programs tend not to include compensation for those sending their devices in for recycling, unlike trading it in using Decluttr or another program.
Type: If you don’t care about getting money for your device, Decluttr has a charity option that allows you to forward your compensation to a good cause.
One way to recycle your device that isn’t exactly in the norm is by doing something called “upcycling.” Upcycling allows you to repurpose your device without tearing it apart. One example is using Samsung’s SmartThings to turn your old Galaxy device into a sensor for home automation. Older Galaxy phones can listen and record important noises like a baby’s cry or an alarm going off to alert you of danger. They can also be used as a light sensor to determine when it’s dark out and turn on the lights.
However you decide to recycle your old device, there are plenty of options out there. From turning it in for cash to dropping it off at Best Buy, you really can’t go wrong. If you recycle your old Android phone, it will ensure that it serves a purpose long after its life is over. Considering how many devices are made and sold each year, choosing to recycle is a fantastic option.
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