Your old phone has seen better days and doesn’t function as you’d like it to. So, should you toss it in the trash or maybe hide it in the back of a drawer? No! The old phone should never go into the regular trash: It doesn’t only contain problematic substances that shouldn’t be disposed of casually, but also valuable materials.
So, store it temporarily? Let’s be honest: Out of sight, out of mind. You’ll never use the old phone again anyway. So why deposit it in some drawer indefinitely?
How can I utilize my old cell phone?
There are several alternatives: If the device is so damaged that it’s no longer usable, you should recycle it. You can do this through a recycling center, a recycling container, or the device manufacturer.
Recycling phone materials
During recycling, the parts which are still usable can be extracted from the device and reused. Since smartphones contain limited resources (“critical raw materials“), reusing is particularly crucial here.
Since 2022, you can also drop off small devices like phones at larger supermarkets in Germany (over 800 square meters of sales space). Ask a cashier or other staff for assistance: They will guide you.
But if your old phone is still in good condition, it can, of course, be reused without recycling. There are several options here, too. You can sell it, donate it, or have it refurbished. We’ll explain more about this later in the article. These are all good ways to utilize and old phone.
When handing in your old smartphone for further use, be mindful of protecting your private data. Whether it’s an iPhone, data privacy for Xiaomi, or security for Android phones: If you thoroughly wipe the data off your device before handing it over, you won’t have to worry anymore.
But in today’s world, how to utilize an old phone is not only interesting for individuals but also for companies.
Old cell phones—Are they still worth something?
The simple answer is: yes! The complicated answer, however, is: It depends …
Do you happen to have a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x at home? With the first commercially available mobile phone, you can currently make up to 8,000 euros in revenue. Even for an unused first-generation iPhone, enthusiasts are willing to pay 2,000 euros or more.
But most of us have actually used our phones. And chances are you want to upgrade from a not-quite-so-historic relic to a new smartphone. What about those devices?
If you want to sell old phones that can be reused, it depends mainly on their condition. Is it very battered or does it still look like new? How is the battery performance? If you still have them, you should also include the original packaging and accessories. These also contribute to increasing the value of your old phone.
On relevant comparison sites online, you can get an initial overview of offers for an old device. For example, for a used Samsung Galaxy 10 in black with 128 gigabytes, we currently find offers between 100–200 euros (as of late 2023). A considerable sum—and helpful for buying the next smartphone!
Donations, selling—What options are there to use old phones?
Your new phone is already purchased, and you’d rather contribute your old one to a good cause? Then don’t let it languish in your drawer; donate it.
Many nonprofit organizations appreciate such donations, such as Pro Wildlife or Oxfam. You can find some other charitable organizations accepting donated old phones here: https://everphone.com/en/blog/old-phone-disposal/
Another option to utilize your old phone is to sell it. Then the questions arise: How and where? There are many options. You can sell your old device independently through eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or similar platforms.
However, you have to handle that yourself. You clean your phone, assess the market, list the offer online, send the device—and then deal with all the unpleasant eventualities. Issues with the new buyer? Shipping problems? You have to deal with these as well.
Alternatively, you can leave your old phone to a recycling platform like Rebuy or Back Market. You get your money—and the company takes care of everything else.
But what about company phones? This involves a variety of devices that need to be managed and responsibly recycled at some point.
How to utilize an old phone within the company
The first challenge in recycling old company smartphones has already been addressed. It’s not just one device, but several (often very many) phones.
Furthermore, the issue of data protection is even more crucial here. Company phones provide access to sensitive company and customer data. This must not fall into the hands of external individuals. The company is responsible for ensuring that this data stays secure.
Organizing the utilization of old company phones requires a lot of work and time within the company. That’s time your IT team could better invest elsewhere. It also requires specialized knowledge in various areas—not every company has the personnel to cover this.
When renting company phones, these tasks are made easier for you. Everphone offers a comprehensive service for the rented devices. This includes organizing the return and further use.
What this means for you: When a colleague’s work phone no longer functions, you simply send it back to Everphone. At the same time, a new work device will be sent directly to the employee.
At Everphone, the old device’s condition is assessed. If it’s repairable (which is the case for 98 percent of returned devices), it’s refurbished and given a second use. If it’s too damaged, it’s responsibly recycled, and functional components and resources are reused.
In any case, all data on the device is certifiably erased according to the standards of the German Federal Office for Information Security. A deletion protocol is created and sent to you.
Utilize old company phones: Buy and rent back with Everphone
That all sounds exciting: But what if you’re interested in Everphone’s service and your company already has company phones? Everphone has a helpful solution for this, which you won’t find in smartphone leasing, for example.
It’s called “buy and rent back“ (BARB). Everphone buys your current mobile fleet, integrates it into its comprehensive service, and rents this package back to you.
This way, your company doesn’t waste money by simply discarding functional devices. And at the same time, you don’t miss out on device-as-a-service and the associated support.
Meanwhile, your employees can continue to use their company phones without any issues. They stay in possession of the devices during the whole BARB process. And when they gradually opt for new phones, they simply order them from Everphone. This way, your entire fleet is renewed in the background step by step without “big bang“ project madness.
This not only gives your company a top-of-the-line device setup, but also delights your employees and helps you take the next step toward sustainability.