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Don’t put it in a drawer! What to do with your old cellphone

Cellphone recycling survey














It turns out you aren’t the only one with an old cellphone—or cellphones—sitting in a drawer somewhere. According to the EPA, only 10 percent of cellphones are recycled or reused today. We asked our Facebook fans for suggestions on what to do with old, unused phones.

Use it for emergencies. The FCC requires cellphone companies to provide 911 service to phones, even when the rest of the service has been turned off. Keep an unused cellphone in your glove compartment, or donate it to your local police station. They’ll put it in the hands of someone looking for an emergency-only cellphone. You can also send your phone to the 911 Cellphone Bank.

Send it back to your carrier. Most carriers provide a credit for returning old phones when you upgrade or switch service. This can help reduce the cost of a shiny, new smartphone.

Sell it online. Try eBay, Amazon or Craigslist, but keep in mind that you’ll need to completely wipe your phone’s memory before giving it to another user.

Donate it. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization that recycles old cellphones, and then uses the funds to purchase calling cards for U.S. soldiers so they can call home at no cost. Other charities, like women’s shelters, also accept unused cellphones to fund their programs or to distribute to patrons.

Watch for recycling events. Most cities sponsor cellphone recycling at various locations and times throughout the year. Pay special attention during the month of April, when many sponsor recycling events in celebration of Earth Day.

Bring it to the store. Many national chains will take your old cellphones to recycle, such as Best Buy, Staples and Goodwill.

Have another suggestion? Let us know in the comments.