Planhacker: Disposing Of Your Mobile Phone

Buying a new mobile phone is always exciting, but in this mobile-saturated nation getting a new device invariably means working out what to do with the old one. As part of our ongoing Earth Month coverage, here’s Planhacker’s comprehensive guide to options for disposing of your old phone.

Picture by incase

Essentially, you’ve got three choices: selling the phone, giving the phone away, or having it recycled. If your phone is damaged, the last is probably the only viable option. All are a much better choice than simply chucking the phone in the garbage, which (and we hope this isn’t news) absolutely no-one should be doing. Which option you choose depends on the age of the phone and a few other factors.

Selling the phone

There’s a large and growing group of sites which offer cash for your old mobile; we’ve listed all the ones we know about below. Regardless of the operator, the process is much the same: get a quote online, post the phone away, and then receive credit once the phone is in their hands. Pricing, unsurprisingly, is generally much better for newer phones; if you’re getting rid of an ancient, calls-only phone, chances are recycling will make more sense. Picture by mpenke

Since there are multiple sites to choose from, you might as well check the price you’ll be offered on pretty much every one before sending your phone off. Given the amounts involved if you’re selling a newer phone, it makes sense to send your phone via registered mail — that avoids any arguments over whether it arrived.

Note, however, that you may actually get more for your phone by selling it yourself; that’s definitely the case with the iPhone 4, for instance, as we established earlier this year. While selling it yourself on eBay or another site may involve more effort, it’s worth double-checking on the prices people typically get if you have a new phone and it’s in good condition.

Giving It Away

This is quite a popular strategy amongst people who always want the latest and greatest in smartphones. “If I give this phone to my partner/mum/best friend, I’ve got a reason to buy a newer one.” That might not always make economic sense, but it does mean you’re not wasting the older phone. Picture by

Obviously if you have someone in mind (and your phone isn’t on a contract), you don’t need any more advice. If you have a much older phone that still works but which is no use to you, consider trying to give it away via Freecycle, OzRecycle or other similar sites. The worst-case scenario is that no-one will be interested, in which case you can progress to recycling. In the best case, someone who has less demanding phone needs won’t buy a new item needlessly.


The dominant player in this space is MobileMuster. You can print a postage-free label from its site and use that to send your phone in, which makes it essentially accessible from anywhere. The site also has a list of drop-off points, which includes a large number of Australia Post, council and phone shop outlets.

The other alternatives on this list are charities which collect the phones to raise money for specific causes. (MobileMuster does sometimes align its collections with specific charities as well.) ARP funds enviromental initiatives; They’re Calling On You supports zoos; You Can funds youth cancer centres.

Lifehacker’s weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.

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