What is mobile recycling?

The term ‘mobile recycling’ refers to the process of salvaging parts from your old handset for manufacturers to reuse. There’s a myriad of reasons why you might want to recycle your old handset - not least to pocket some extra cash.

For our money, the best way to turn your old handset into cash and dispose of it responsibly is to give it to a mobile recycler, also known as a reseller.

What happens to my phone when it is recycled?

The process of recycling your old handset - recovering old parts, etc - will differ depending on the recycling company you choose. Generally, though, it will go something like this:

  • Extracting metal - To extract precious metals like gold and silver from the old circuit board or battery inside your phone, a recycler will usually grind down all of the parts to get the metals they need.
  • Extracting plastic Plastic recovery works in a similar way: after certain components inside the handset are burnt, recyclers can then extract the bits of plastic left over.

After this process, the parts left over can be reused. So, really, the whole process is very similar to recycling old bottles and cans.

Is recycling safe for the environment?

Overall, yes. You see, most UK recyclers are signed up to the Basel Convention, which means they must cooperate with UN guidelines on the transportation of hazardous waste. These guidelines are very strict, and companies that flout rules could face a hefty fine.

To that end, you can be satisfied that most recyclers will get rid of your phone safely, although it doesn’t hurt to do some research into companies if you’re unsure.

Why should I recycle my phone?

It’s good for the environment

According to a recent study, on average, British consumers upgrade to a new phone every 12 - 18 months. But then considering the rate at which manufacturers push out new handsets, that’s hardly surprising.

What is surprising, though, is the amount of harmful substances your old handset can harbour: arsenic, cadium, lead and zinc to name a few. If these nasty substances aren’t disposed of responsibly, they can find their way into the environment and even contaminate our drinking water.

It’s easy money

These days, brand-new handsets can cost thousands of pounds. And while we’re big fans of the latest tech, that’s still a lot to splash out for a phone. Luckily, recycling your old handset could mean you have a deposit for a new phone or, even better, you may have enough to pay for the majority of a handset outright.

How much you get for your old handset depends on the phone model and what nick it’s in. To pick up the most money for your old handset, we recommend using Compare My Mobile’s comparison tables. These let you compare a range of recyclers in one place, so you make sure you get the best price possible.

Compare mobile recyclers

What is mobile recycle comparison?

In a nutshell, mobile recycle comparison means comparing the best recycling deals from a range of companies.
So how do you go about recycling your phone? Well, you’ve actually got a few options, which we outline in full below:

  • Online - believe it or not, there are a number of sites on the internet who will pay you for your old handset, no matter what state it’s in. Of course, newer handsets with minimal damage will pull in more than a dilapidated Nokia 3310. But, as we say above, recyclers can still use the parts inside your phone, so you’ll still be able to get something for phone, even if it’s old and battered. Before you choose a deal, though, we recommend using our comparison table. You can filter by the best things you’re looking for.
  • Charity - winningly, selling your old phone is also a great way to give money to charity. More often than not, the device itself doesn’t have to work - the charity could still get some cash for the parts inside your handset. That said, if your phone does work, some charities will pass it on to those who need a mobile device.
  • In store - as well as selling your old handset online, you can also sell in store, too. And, depending on what condition it’s in, you could end up with a fair whack for it. To find out how much you could pocket, visit your local store.

Compare mobile recyclers

What should I do before I sell my device?

Before you sell your device, it’s important to do a thorough check to make sure any sensitive data - pictures, important docs, email addresses - have been deleted. To find out how to clear data from your device safely, check out our handy guide.