Gifting or Replacing Mobile Phones

Gifting, Upgrading, Replacing

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, just past and Valentine’s Day fast approaching new mobile phones are chosen by many as a gift for the special day. At the same time, many of us just upgrade or replace old phones with a new, faster, increasingly secure gleaming model! According to the Minerals Education Coalition, about 140 million mobile phones are disposed of every year. But what happen with the old once loved mobile phones?

Drawer with Old Mobile Phones

Some options

There are an increasing number of options for recycling and reusing old mobile phones some of which are listed below.

  • When you buy a new mobile phone in a shop, ask how you can recycle your old one.
  • If your unwanted phone is in good working condition and reasonably up-to-date, online resellers and some high street shops buy electrical or electronic items, especially if you have the original box, charger and instructions.
  • Old, unused, broken mobile phones can be disposed of at most recycling centres alongside small electrical items – find your nearest in Dublin here.

Some charities did accept mobile phones in the past. This option seems to have ceased but safe recycling is still an option, It’s really good to know phones are recyclable and many parts can be recovered so please don’t send them to a landfill or leave them in the drawer for years.

Old Mobile Phones


Mobile phones contain a range of materials including valuable fragments such as silver – which can be extracted and re-used. The variety of metals used includes aluminium which is lightweight and usually found in the phone case. Lithium cobalt oxide and carbon graphite are used to make the batteries. Elements like gold, copper and silver are used in the wiring of the phone. Platinum and tungsten are used in the circuitry. Another common material found in mobile phones is plastic which can be used instead of lightweight metal in the case.

Very Old Mobile Phones

Before you retire your old phone

  • Back up your data e.g. photos, music, messages, emails, contacts etc
  • Turn off any payment services pay where your card details are stored
  • Sign out of apps that hold your personal information e.g. social media sites and email accounts.
  • Delete saved passwords on your browsers – e.g. google chrome.
  • Remove your SIM card and any backup or external storage
  • Wipe the phone with a factory reset.

If you are unsure of how to perform the above actions you can try the user manual if you still have one. Alternatively, if you know or can find the phone model number you will most likely find the steps online and there may be a video on YouTube to help.

If the above action doesn’t work for you, Recycle IT can help with the cost-effective breakdown and destruction of your old mobile phones. The process places the phone beyond reuse, while also safely recycling the component parts for processing and eventual reuse in new products.

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning, not-for-profit, social enterprise established to create employment and promote environmental awareness through recycling and reuse. We work in partnership with WEEE Ireland and are authorized by your local authority to provide electrical, electronic and pure metal recycling collections across Dublin since 2007. Recycle IT are fully compliant with WEEE Recycling Requirements and permit details are available here.

For more information about Recycle IT please click here.

Damaged Mobile Phones

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