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Throwing out your old mobile - why not recycle instead?

Published date: September 2021


Mobile phones go out of date quicker than the milk in your fridge so if you tend to accumulate old mobiles perhaps it’s time to think about having a clear out.

There are a number of ways you can dispose of your old mobile. Up to 80% of your phone is recyclable with most containing materials such as metal, plastic and even silver, so don’t stick it in a drawer or send it to landfill – recycle it!

Donate your phone to charity

Charities like Little Lives collects electronic devices such as laptops and mobiles and gives them to schools, children, families and refugee centres in London. For people who cannot afford to buy them these recycled phones make an enormous difference to their lives, particularly children. Electronic devices give them greater access to learning, communication with friends and skills to improve their career prospects. We suggest you only donate devices that work – sending off your mobile phone with a cracked screen or a camera that doesn’t work, means the charity will end up having to pay to fix it. It couldn’t be easier to send them your phone, you can download a pre-paid envelope from the charity’s website.


You can sell your phone to a company like Fonebank and donate to charity at the same time. You receive cash for your phone but are then given the option to donate 25%, 50% or 75% of the money to one of their three associated charities: WaterAid, Oxfam and the National Trust. An unwanted phone worth £50 could provide safe water for 50 or more people via Oxfam or WaterAid or help the National Trust protect historic houses, forests, beaches, nature reserves and other sites of national importance.


If you’re recycling a smartphone, Hubbub will clean it, data-wipe it and redistribute it to the 7 million people in the UK that don’t have a mobile phone. Each recipient receives 12-months' free data and access to free digital skills training. You can sign up to receive a freepost label.

Phone Recycling

Some of the most well-known names for mobile phone recycling are 02 Recycle, CeX, Mazuma Mobile and Envirofone. They all offer money for old mobiles although it’s worth checking their criteria before rushing to send your phone off. Condition is everything and even that tiny scratch on the back will downgrade your phone and the amount you receive. Like Fonebank, Envirofone will give you the option of donating a percentage of the amount you receive for your phone to charity. 

Sell your phone privately

You’ll probably get more for your mobile by selling it privately on online sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Gumtree, but it can be more of a hassle and you’ll need to be careful not too open yourself up to being scammed by a buyer. You’ll need to set up an account if you’re not already registered, make a listing, and take decent photographs of your phone, warts and all.  When selling online, PayPal has a good protection system if you’re worried about online transactions.

You should always factory reset your mobile prior to trading it in, donating it or selling to remove all your personal data and any installed apps.

Buying a new mobile – choose green

Of course, once you’ve sold your old mobile, you’ll need to upgrade to a new one. Why not make your next choice a more sustainable one? The number of discarded mobiles and other tech products is set to climb to over 52 million tonnes in 2021. Your Co-op Mobile has teamed up with Fairphone, designers of the world’s most ethical smartphones. The Fairphone is made of removable modules, that be easily removed and updated. So, there’s no need to replace your smartphone each year, you can simply replace and repair parts - helping to save the planet and reducing CO2e emissions. 

If you're looking to make a more conscientious choice with your next mobile, Your Co-op Mobile offers top of the range sustainable smartphone handsets all with a variety of mobile deals for both personal and business customers.


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