How To Dispose Of Your Mobile Phone

How To Dispose Of Your Mobile Phone

If you’re in a spring cleaning frenzy, chances are you’re going to dig up an old mobile phone or two; there’s an estimated 16 million spare phones kicking around the country. Here’s the Australian options for disposing of a mobile you no longer need (or that no longer works).

Picture by chuntse

Yes, you could always go the super-lazy option and just chuck it out in the rubbish. But that's a very environmentally irresponsible act, especially given just how easy it is to send your phone for recycling (and possibly make a bit of money in the bargain). Here's the options you've got (many of which were suggested by readers on our recent post about Mazuma Mobile). Remember to remove your SIM card from the phone and delete any personal information before you dispose of it.


The MobileMuster program proclaims itself "the official recycling program of the mobile phone industry", and it certainly offers a comprehensive range of options for getting rid of your unwanted handset. You can search on the site for a physical drop-off point (Australia Post outlets, phone shops and council offices are common locations), or print out a post-free mailing label and send the phone back for recycling. There's also the similar They're Calling On You program which uses funds from recycled phones to support local zoos.[imgclear]

Mazuma Mobile and Cash For Phones

Both these sites operate on the same principle: they provide a quote for what they'll pay for your phone, and if you're happy you send it to them and receive a payment. For a working model, this can be a useful way to get some extra cash, though the sums involved aren't huge with older phones.[imgclear]

Sell it yourself

eBay has a pretty thriving category for mobile phones, as does the Trading Post, though there's an understandable bias towards newer releases, and it's not a viable option for non-functioning phones (though you might be able to sell the accessories if it's a popular model).

Check with your local council

Many local councils offer a specific recycling option for mobile phones (mine has a drop-off point at council headquarters; others will take phones with other electrical equipment at the tip). You can find a link to your local council here.

Give it to a friend or relative

While Lifehacker readers tend to want the latest, shiniest smartphones, there are plenty of people for whom the basic functions of calling, texting and snapping the occasional photo are enough. If your phone is still working but you've just decided to move on, there's almost certainly someone in your circle who might appreciate it. Ask around (Facebook is an easy way to get the word out).

You could also give it away via Freecycle, OzRecycle or similar projects. If you decide you want to give your phone to a charity shop, check for its policy first; some don't accept any electrical goods (because of safety concerns or the labour needed to work out if they're actually functional).

Know of other mobile phone recycling or disposal options that we haven't mentioned? Share them in the comments.

Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?


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