How many old phones do you have gathering dust in a drawer? (Credits: Getty Images)

Mobile phones are essential to our lives, but they also tend to get updated pretty regularly – leaving a pile of old tech gathering dust in a drawer.

You may be tempted to just chuck the old device away with the rest of the rubbish, but that’s a huge mistake.

Smartphones and other electronics contain materials and elements that shouldn’t go into landfill.

Green Redeem UK says: ‘Mobile phones contain enough lead to qualify as hazardous waste, so it’s really important that old handsets or batteries never end up in our normal rubbish bins.

‘If you recycle a mobile phone correctly, all those potentially dangerous materials can be safely extracted and reused.’

If you can’t sell or donate your old phone, then you need to make sure it’s recycled responsibly.

According to the trade-in website musicMagpie, the UK alone produces over 133,141 tonnes of electronic waste each month. The equivalent weight of over 70,000 scrapped cars. 

Mobile phones contain potentially dangerous materials and must be recycled responsibly (Credits: Shutterstock)

Sam Vesey, Group Chief Sustainability Officer at musicMagpie told Metro.co.uk: ‘It can be really difficult to know what to do with your unused technology.

‘While keeping hold of your old devices might seem like the best solution, they will depreciate in value and become obsolete, and are therefore more likely to end up in landfill as e-waste.

‘When we asked the public about their understanding of the e-waste problem, we found that 79% of people were unfamiliar with e-waste and nearly a third didn’t believe it damaged the environment.

‘It is clear that more needs to be done to educate the public about the full extent of the issues surrounding e-waste and the small changes we can all make to help prevent unused tech ending up in landfill and damaging the environment.’ 

How can I recycle my old phone?

Most household waste centres will have a section for electricals, which includes mobiles.

Recycling centres usually have a dedicated section for old electronics. (Credits: Reuters)

Alternatively, you could get some extra cash by trading it in at phone shops.

Apple stores, for example, will recycle your old phones and tablets – and you’ll get a trade-in card with the value of the handset. An iPhone 5 in good order, for example, currently redeems for £25.

Lots of other phone shops will accept them for recycling, so when you buy a new one ask if they have a scheme.

Many charities also accept phones. Oxfam lets you bring a phone into their shops, or if you have five or more they’ll send a courier to pick them up.

Make sure you remove your personal data before turning in your old phone.

To do this, it’s usually along the lines of:  Settings -> About -> Reset Phone to Factory Settings.


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