As you upgrade from cell phone to smartphone to even-smarter phone—what happens to your old equipment?
According to a new study, more than half of consumers have at least two unused cell phones in their home that do nothing more than collect dust (or become "pretend" phones for the kids).
SellCell, the cell phone recycling price comparison site behind the survey, claims that the average cell phone earns $91 when recycled. So why would 53% of Americans leave about $200 potential dollars sitting in a box in the basement instead of cashing in?
One in 5 admit to being too lazy; but about 23% are concerned about jeopardizing their personal information.
And no wonder: 60% of consumers don’t know how to erase all the data from their phone, leaving bank statements, contracts and private information about family and friends at risk. Here’s how you can recycle your phone securely:
- Treat your phone like a computer. To wipe it clean, restore factory settings before recycling. Reference your phone’s manual for step-by-step instructions.
- Don’t forget the SIM card. Not all phones have them, but look behind the battery to be sure. If you find one, cut it up. Again, if you’re unsure, check the manual.
- Get help. If you’re not comfortable taking matters into your own hands, enlist the help of an established recycling professional. Visit the EPA’s website for listings of licensed professionals in your area. You can also find upcoming seasonal recycling events in your community.
If you really want to shop around and get the best deal, check out Gazelle, Glyde, and Amazon. Or donate them, if you’re not interested in cash: Cellphonesforsoldiers takes gently used phones that members of the military can then use.
All clear? Now you’re ready to trade in that old piece of plastic for cash that you can use to treat yourself to something special.