How Your Old Cell Phone Can Make You Money

cell phone

When you upgrade your new cell phone, or your current one just irrevocably dies, what do you do with it?  Cell phones are made largely of recyclable materials, so if your answer was, “Thow it out,” it may be time to change your habits.  Recycling phones is a good thing to do period, but there are also ways to do good for others, or even make money, when you start making eco-conscious decisions with these old electronics.

Sell Your Phone

The first avenue you may want to try is selling your old phone.  If it’s a new enough model, and desirable enough, it can even be broken and still garner some cash.  Gazelle and other sites like it purchase not just cell phones, but iPads and other tablets, Mac computers, and iPods.  They then refurbish them and sell them for a profit.  If the phone’s going to make them money once it’s done up, they’re willing to pay you for it.

Do Good for Others With Your Phone

If you can’t sell your phone, you may want to look into donating it.  There are a ton of programs out there that help people in need via old cell phones (even the less desirable models that for-profit businesses may turn down.)  Here are some of our favorite options:

  • Cell Phones for Soldiers is an organization that accepts old cell phones.  They recycle them, or fix them up and sell them if they are not beyond repair, and use the profits to buy soldiers call time back home when they are overseas.
  • If you’re looking for a good program to support with your phone donation, check out your local women’s shelter.  Many accept cell phones that can be contributed to national or local organizations.  The process is very similar to Cell Phones for Soldiers.  The phones themselves aren’t necessarily used by the organization, but the profits from the recycling/reselling process help fund their programs at large.
  • 911 Cell Phone Bank is a little different than the previous organizations.  When you donate your phone, they actually use that same phone, and not the profits from it, to do good.  They distribute them to law enforcement agencies who then provide the phones to victims of domestic abuse, senior citizens, and those who work in emergency services so they are able to make emergency phone calls should another situation arise.  The phones that are too far beyond repair are recycled, and some of the ones that are functional are sold to cover operating costs.  Still, the primary objective is to get those self-same phones into the hands of people who genuinely need them when an emergency strikes.


Next time you’re upgrading your phone, don’t just throw it away, or let it collect dust in a box, until you figure out how to recycle it.  Sell it and make yourself some money, or do some good by donating to an organization you love that could use the profits to make the world a better place.