What are the recycling methods applicable for a smart phone? People often change smart phones and the number of unused phones have become a problem for the environment. I came to know about some organizations accepting electronic wastes including phones in countries like US. What are the alternatives to handle this from a individual's point of view?

Location: India, phone: samsung galaxy

Note: Location based advice will be helpful, but together with that other ideas are also appreciated as it will helpful for others in the community.

  • It helps if you tell what make/model, what age, and what country you're in.
    – user2451
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 7:38

2 Answers 2


Option 1: Reuse

Reuse is always better than recycling because recycling requires energy and not all parts of a phone may be recyclable.

However, there is only so long a mobile phone can be used (mine is now 5 years old and is starting to malfunction), so there comes a point you want to get rid of it. Mobile phones often contain rare earth metals like neodymium, europium, terbium, and yttrium, but also copper, gold, palladium, and platinum. So if reuse is not an option anymore make sure it is recycled properly.

Option 2: Donate to charity

My personal preference is to donate my old phone to a charity organization. Where I live (The Netherlands) there are all kinds of charity organizations that collect old smartphones (and ink cartridges and mp3-players). The charities sell the phones to local e-waste recyclers for somewhere between €1 and €3 per phone. Some charities even provide free envelopes so you can post the phones to them.

Option 3 : Return it to your phone manufacturer

Most large phone manufacturers have take-back/recycling programmes, often world-wide. I noticed on your profile that you live in India and with a quick Google search I found that at least Samsung and Motorola have such a program in India.

Option 4: Find an e-waste recycling company in your area

If your phone manufacturer doesn't have a take-back program, I'd advice you to search for an e-waste recycling company yourself. Cell phones are being recycled in more and more countries, because it is rather profitable.


You can use your smartphone in less obvious way, e.g. use it as surveillance camera (especially when some of your phone functions stops working well, e.g. battery is dead, no voice). There are apps for this, e.g. https://getperch.com/.

Another similar funcationality is served by manything.com which together with https://ifttt.com/manything creates quite powerful solution.

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