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Five Ways to Give Your Old Cell Phone a New Life

It’s hard to believe, but there are as many cell phone subscriptions in the world as there are people, according to a recent United Nations report (see “The Millennium Development Goals Report,”

That’s a lot of cell phones, many of which will get tossed into a junk drawer or end up in a landfill when the subscribers update to the latest and greatest mobile device. However, there are plenty of other options for these unwanted devices. Here are five of our favorite ways you can give an old cell phone new life.

1. Activate it

If the cell phone is still in working order, you can activate it for a friend or family member. Some cell phone plans allow you to add an additional line for as little as $6 a month.

2. Repurpose it

Smart phones have lots of uses besides being just a phone. They can become alarm clocks or media players. They can be used to access local Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the internet with the phone’s browser. There’s no need for even a month-to-month contract with a cell phone provider to do any of this.

3. Donate it

If you feel someone else could better benefit from your old cell phone, you can donate it to a charity and receive a possible tax write-off.

4. Sell it

Some used cell phones are worth more than others. Some have almost no value at all. Condition and age play a big part in a phone’s resale value. Online sites like eBay and Craigslist provide outlets for you to sell your old cell phone.  However, these are not hands-free solutions and can be a hassle if you are not an experienced seller with a system for handling orders. And if you are new to eBay, don’t be surprised if you get less money than you anticipate; you will not have an established seller’s account that buyers can trust.

Another option is to use a professional electronics recycler to sell your phone. They will often have established resale channels and are already familiar with all of the ins and outs of selling electronic devices online.

5. Recycle it

If none of these solutions work for you, then it is best to recycle your old cell phone rather than improperly disposing of it in the trash.  A professional electronics recycler can safely and securely recycle your old mobile phone. The phone does not even need to be in working order. Condition and age are not an issue when recycling.