Where to Donate Old Cell Phones

by Chris Blank

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that only 10 percent of used cell phones are recycled or donated. Cell phone donation can help the environment, charities and the community. Used cell phone donation is an easy decision regarding the disposal of your phone.


Conserve materials. In addition to plastic, cell phones contain precious metals and copper that can be recycled. Reduce both air and water pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Cell phones contain toxic materials which should not be put back into the environment. Save energy and reduce landfill by donating your cell phone. Support a charity of your choice. Many charities now have cell phone donation programs. Take a tax deduction. Depending on your individual situation, it may be possible to deduct the donation from your taxes.


Properly prepare your cell phone for donation. Cancel your cell phone service, or switch service to your new phone, prior to donating. Transfer data possible to the new phone. Clear your memory of saved data. Remove the SIM card. Ask your cell phone company for any other steps that you should take prior to donating you cell phone.

Where to Donate

Contact your favorite charity and see if they have a cell phone donation program. Many charities have started donation programs. They either refurbish the phones for reuse or sell them to recycling companies and use the money to support their cause. Call your local public works department to and ask if they have a recycling program for cell phones or if they can recommend a local drop off point. Ask your cell phone provider, or manufacturer, about their donation program. Most large cell phone providers have a donation program. Used cell phones can be dropped off at or mailed to a central location. For example, Verizon Wireless (www.verizon.com) has a donation program called HopeLine which helps victims of domestic violence. T-Mobile (www.tmobile.com) contributes 100% of donation proceeds to charities. Their current program is called T-Mobile Huddle Up; this program provides community outreach. Investigate other charity choices such as Cell Phones for Soldiers (www.cellphonesforsoliders.com) which uses proceeds to provide soldiers overseas with calling cards to call home. Another choice is Last Chance for Animals (www.lca.org). This organization uses proceeds to combat animal cruelty. Many other charitable organizations that accept cell phone donations can be found with a quick online search. Start your own community donation effort. Set up donation boxes throughout the community and collect cell phones for the charity of your choice.

About the Author

Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.