What To Do With Your Old Phone When You Upgrade

What To Do With Old Phone

I’m very lucky that I get to test out many different mobile devices. I’m the dork who usually has 3 phones with me. Not because I’m so important, but because I want to use the new phones like you’d use them. But most people aren’t like that and when they upgrade to a new phone the old one ends up getting kicked to the curb.

I don’t know anyone who’d just throw an old phone away. Even if the screen was cracked or it wouldn’t hold a charge or can’t power on, few people would ever think to toss a phone in the trash or recycle bin. And that’s good because mobile phones – whether smartphones or not – contain chemicals that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. That’s why I’m here to give you options on what you can do with your old phone.


1. Keep It – This is kind of an easy option if your device still works. Since all mobile devices have to be able to call 911 they’re great to just have on hand for a true emergency. Naturally you’d want to keep it powered up, although in reality it may end up stashed in the back of a drawer. Old smartphones without cell service will work on WiFi so you can still use it to get on the internet at home, when you travel, or at shops around town that offer free WiFi. It’s a great way to have something for the kids to play their games on while not having to hand over your device. Old phones also make great jukeboxes or a place to store your workout playlist. That way you can exercise and not get interrupted with texts or calls.

2. Give It To Someone In The Family – Maybe the kids need a phone. Or you’re trying to get your parents to ditch their 1992 flip phone for a “real” phone. If it’s just a year or so old, the technology is still relatively up to date and the device may still even be for sale with your carrier. Rather than buying a new device, hand-me-down devices are a great way to introduce new technology or upgrade older devices. Many carriers will allow you to add an additional line for a nominal fee or even provide pre-paid SIM cards so you don’t have to add a new line.

3. Sell It – Many people often think this is their main option. With new devices often costing several hundred dollars, it makes sense to want to off-set the cost by selling your old device. There are many options available for selling mobile devices – Craigslist, Ebay, Gazelle, uSell, Swappa, Glyde, – and they all have their pros and cons. I’ve sold several mobile phones over the years but I don’t do it any more. I’ve found that even though most are relatively hassle-free, for me it’s not the best option.

4. Trade Up – Some carriers will allow you to trade-in to upgrade. If you want to get out of a phone and get the newest device, check with your carrier to see if they have a trade-in option. Many do, but only for certain devices. Carriers may also allow you to trade up devices when you switch, too. This comes in handy when you’re out of contract and want to leave your current carrier but don’t want to have to shell out for a new device.

5. Donate or Recycle Your Phone – Donating old cell phones is easier than ever these days, and there are many different causes. Sometimes you can just drop them off at any carrier’s store and they’ll refurbish the ones that can be fixed and then provide them to the charity they support or, if they’re not able to refurbish them the devices are recycled properly. Many grocery and office supply stores have donation/recycle stations. Usually they’re combined because some phones people want to donate may not be suitable for donation so they’re recycled. I’ve donated several devices to Hopeline over the past few years, even though Verizon was not my primary carrier. I’ve had a Verizon account for over 10 years and I liked the goal of proving cell phones to domestic abuse survivors so that’s why I’d donate to Hopeline. While donations made to Verizon’s Hopeline are not tax-deductible, if that’s something you need check with the charities you support and find out if they accept donations of old phones.

So there you have it – several great options for what to do when you upgrade your old phone and get a new one. Each comes with pros and cons but I’m sure there’s one that will work for you. And just because you choose one way this time doesn’t mean you always have to do the same thing. Options! And who doesn’t like options.

What have you done with your old phones?


Blog Action Day: Give a Child a Glass of Clean Water

Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day. This day has been designated so bloggers around the world can come together to raise awareness about a single issue. To not only create dialogue but also action. As we all know, talk only goes so far. To make an impact we must take active steps and DO SOMETHING!

The issue this year is WATER. Water, you say? We all have water. The earth is covered in it. You can find it most anywhere. I drink water all the time, every day.

Unfortunately, though, over a billion (that’s 1,000,000,000!) people (about the population of China) do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. And let’s not forget that animals need clean drinking water too. As do all the plants and vegetation that keep our environmental cycle on track.

This summer I had the pleasure of meeting the people who work for the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program. The program has many facets, with the ultimate goal of providing safe and clean drinking water to children around the world. I saw first hand how a tiny PUR Sachet can change contaminated water into crystal clear drinking water, sufficient to hydrate a family for several days. I spoke with a woman who, because of selling and distributing these PUR Sachets, has overcome poverty herself and has singlehandedly helped dozens of other women escape prostitution by joining the efforts to bring clean water to all the children of Africa.

Further, I am a board member for Global Family Philanthropy which does outreach in Haiti as well as parts of Africa. After the devastating earthquake that nearly destroyed Haiti in January, Global Family Philanthropy has returned several times to help rebuild. Lori Goldberg and her husband, Seth, have seen first hand what contaminated water can do to their little children. They have been fortunate to be able to gain access to safe drinking water, but only after finding out that their parched and thirsty children will drink anything. Regardless of the fact that it is brown and teeming with parasites.

Earlier in the year, I wrote about Lori returning to Haiti to start the recovery and rebuilding effort for their orphanges. Lori just returned from another trip and has beautiful pictures of the children up on the GFP Facebook page. Lori was able to take PUR Sachets with her so the orphanage will never have to worry about clean water  should their water source become contaminated.

There is a biblical reference to wheat being the staff of life. While there is a lot of truth to that, it is also very true that without clean, safe drinking water life can not be sustained. And this type of death is 100% preventable!

WE can stop children from dying simply by providing them with clean water. H2O. Agua. Eau. Vatten. Wasser. Het. Apa. Su. Nero. Ura. Yaku. Jo. Dlo. Paani. Nam. Mizu.
So many ways to say it. But it’s all the same. Clear, refreshing and hydrating. Water!

Clean water means survival. It means being able to go to school or hug your parents or play with your friends. It mean children get to be children.

And WE (as in you and me) can make a huge difference! On this day I ask you not only to share this message but also to take action. If you can donate, CSDW’s program is where I am suggesting you give. You can give whatever you feel is appropriate. If you have to go to your car or search your couch cushions to find $1, then donate that. If you have to save your change from the next few purchases, consider doing that. Do you use coupons? Then designate a portion of that savings to CSDW. I think we can all find at least $1.00 to support the mission of clean water around the world.

What can your donation do?

$1.00 gives a child clean water for 50 days.
$7.50 gives a child clean water for a year.
$30.00 gives a family clean water for a year.

Are you ready to HELP? Click on the word DONATE and you’ll be taken to the CSDW site. At the bottom right is a DONATE button. It will take you to paypal where you can give as generously as you can.

Together we can give children clean water! DONATE NOW.

Thank you for reading my post and being part of Blog Action Day 2010.