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Mobile phones contain a range of materials including metals, plastics and several valuable components - such as silver - which can be extracted and re-used. There are an increasing number of options for recycling and re-using old mobile phones.
It is important to ensure that your personal data is removed from your mobile phone before you pass it on or send it for recycling.
Pass them on
The main channels for disposing of mobiles are the shops that sell them, but there are other organisations and charities that accept them for refurbishment and recycling. Up to 80 per cent of a phone is recyclable, so don't send it to landfill or leave it in the drawer - recycle it!
- Most charities accept old mobile phones, whether they are working or not. They can raise valuable funds by passing them on to mobile phone recycling companies.
- Pass on items for free at places such as Freecycle and Freegle
- Or sell them! Why not try the comparison tool on the Money Saving Expert website to find who’s offering the best price or sell them yourself on websites like eBay and Gumtree.
- When you buy a new mobile phone in a shop, ask how you can recycle your old one. Most provide postal envelopes you can use.
- If your unwanted phone is in good working condition and reasonably up-to-date, shops such as Cash Converters and CeX buy electrical or electronic items, especially if you have the original box and instructions etc.
- If you'd rather not 'recycle' your phone using any of the above, you can dispose of it at most household waste and recycling centres in the containers marked "small electricals". Search below for your nearest recycling location.
- If you simply wish to recycle the battery pack of your mobile phone, see our page on batteries for more information.
- To find out what happens to recycled mobile phones visit How are electricals recycled page.