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Cash in the Cupboard? - Denis the Dustcart Blog

Published: 24 September 2021

Cash in the Cupboard? Cash in the Cupboard?

In his regular feature, Denis the Dustcart talks about old mobile phones lurking in the back of your drawer and how they could earn you up to £200.

You can follow Denis on his Facebook page to keep up with information about Recycling issues.

Old mobile phones lurking in the back of your drawer could earn you up to £200.

Many of these seemingly out-dated pieces of tech contain a range of valued materials, which can be extracted and reused – including precious metals.

Recycling old electronic devices is vitally important for the planet, too, since it means having to mine less of this precious material from the ground.

Uswitch has put together some handy tips on how to earn money from recycling or moving on your old mobiles. 

Firstly, ensure that your personal data is removed from your mobile phone before you pass it on or send it for recycling.

Next, analyse your phone’s condition. Cracks, missing buttons, how old the model is, etc., will all affect its value. Once you’ve established its overall usefulness, you can then choose how to recycle it.

If your mobile is old or damaged, a mobile recycling service may be your best option. Most services will simply check your make and model and tell you what they’ll pay you for sending them your phone to recycle. They’ll often include a freepost envelope to pop your phone in. Provided the phone meets their conditions, they'll send you a cheque or transfer the money into your bank account. As up to 80% of a phone is recyclable, even damaged, faulty or old phones can still command a little cash value.

Old mobiles sent to these services will end up either being refurbished or taken apart and reprocessed so that any useful parts and components can be salvaged and used again. This helps to cut the waste and reduces the environmental damage associated with making components for new mobile phones.

As demand for mobile phone materials continues to soar, more recycling services have become available. Compare mobile phone recycling companies to ensure the biggest payout and/or assess any social, environmental or charitable schemes involved.

Check out the manufacturer’s or network provider’s recycling scheme. Here are a few:

  • O2's scheme is called O2 Recycle. This operates much like third-party recycling schemes, with an online checker at its heart so you can ascertain how much your mobile is worth. And you’ll even get same-day payment when your handset is processed. O2 feeds the profits it makes from O2 Recycle into its Think Big initiative, which aims to improve the lives of young people. Visit O2 Recycle here:
  • EE's similar Recycle and Reward scheme lets you choose between a cheque or bank transfer. The umbrella brand's scheme accepts handsets irrespective of the network they're tied to. Recycle your old phone with EE:
  • Vodafone's Buyback scheme features the option to swap your handset for cash or retail vouchers. Again, same-day payments are available and BuyBack will accept phones tied to other networks. Visit Vodafone's website to trade in your old phone:
  • Three will recycle old mobiles free of charge, but does not offer a cashback scheme. The devices are tested and refurbished and sent to be reused in countries in the developing world. Recycle your old mobile phone with Three:
  • Apple has a buyback programme in place where you can trade in an old iPhone to get money off a new one. They have a list that gives estimates on how much your old phone is worth. You don’t only have to trade in last year’s model: Apple will take older iPhones off your hands, too. Check out how much you can trade in your old iPhone for here:

Other tips for recycling your mobile phone:

  • Check out other high-street retailers who may offer you a cash sum for your phone, if it’s in a resalable condition. They may offer you cash or a trade-in price. Having the original box and/or instructions may help you get a better deal.
  • Donate it. Passing it to a charity shop would be an ethical choice, ensuring that those who can’t afford the latest models can still keep connected with loved ones while providing a cash injection to the charity in question.
  • Reuse it yourself. There are many ways to utilise an old mobile. With the right apps they can work as a permanent GPS in the car, a piece of smart home tech such as a security camera, or even a baby monitors.
  • Sell them yourself online via shops for second-hand goods.

Ultimately, whether you trade your old mobile in or find it a new use, moving your phone on usefully is one of the best things you can do to help the environment.

For more information, check out Uswitch’s helpful advice page

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