How to Recycle Your Cell Phone

Lane Simond:

While Sparta Group is a B2B, the company often gets questions directly from consumers. As more people hear about the company’s e-waste recycling/upcycling operation, specific questions about dealing with common gadgets come up. In this blog, we try to answer a question we get regularly: “What is the best way to recycle a cell phone?”

The average cell phone user replaces their phone every two to three years. According to GSMA, the mobile industry’s leading data and analysis source, there are over 10 billion mobile phones in use worldwide. That is 10 billion phones that at some point soon, will be replaced with new phones.

Sparta Group has recycled and upcycled millions of phones for its clients and has built a strong reputation in the industry for safe data destruction. Sparta managers consider a cell phone a “personal item” and therefore process it in the most careful and safe way, thus protecting privacy.

“Our team members are proficient at safe, secure data destruction, which is why some of the biggest brands in the world choose us, but when it comes to consumers, there are steps they can take to not only protect their data, but protect the planet,” said Sparta President and CTO, John O’Bireck

Sparta ‘s e-waste processors offer consumers the following tips on how to recycle a cell phone:

  • Prepare your phone – Before you recycle your phone, take some time to do a factory reset. This simply means that you remove data from your mobile and restore it back to factory settings. Essentially, all apps and their data are uninstalled (erased). Some people remove the phone battery when preparing a mobile for recycling, but this can be tricky and hazardous with many cell phones so you should consider leaving that to the recycler. Gather any charging cables and find out where you can recycle or donate the phone.
  • Donate your phone – In Canada, there are several ways you can donate your cell phone to someone who doesn’t have one but could really benefit from using a mobile. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) has a program called,

Phone It Forward.  Another avenue for donation is through Africa Calling. The non-profit organization collects and donates the phones to disadvantaged people around the world. Except for stores in Calgary, Alberta, Staples stores across Canada collect and recycle cell phones. Both Telus and Bell also have mobile recycling/upcycling programs that handle outdated phones.

  • Trade – When you are ready to upgrade, depending on what type of phone you have, you may be able to trade it in for a new one. The authorized phone dealer will send the old phone to an e-waste recycling firm, like Sparta’s. Many dealers will allow you to put the trade-in value towards your new phone.
  • Certified e-waste recycler – Find a certified e-waste recycler near you that will destroy your old phone. Make sure the recycler has a data destruction policy, and ask if they refurbish the phones and send them overseas. If they can’t provide you with assurances that all data will be safely destroyed and that they do not send the used phones overseas, then take your phone and walk away.

Mobile phones have come a long way; from just being a phone to being a multi-purpose gadget. Today, most people consider a cell phone a necessity. Not everyone can afford a new cell phone though. It’s great if you can pass yours on to someone who can use it. If you decide to recycle your mobile, it is crucial that you choose an e-waste recycling facility that is certified in safe data destruction. In either case – donating or recycling, you can feel good about diverting your mobile from the trash and doing your small part to protect the environment.