Recycling Mobile Phones

Lets talk recycling

Old mobile phones ready to be recycled

Can i recycle mobile phones?

Yes, mobile phones can be recycled. Many services exist where they may be refurbished for further use or broken down into their components for recycling.


Regardless of the condition of your old mobile phone, it may be possible to donate it to various charity organisations through their shop collection points, donate it via a small electronics charity bin or offer it directly to a specialist phone recycling company for money. If recycling your mobile phone, remember to perform a factory reset on the device so that all of your personal data is removed. Specialist services also exist to securely wipe your device.


Popular options include:
  • Fonebak – was launched within these stores and collects and donates monies to charities.
  • Action Aid
  • Oxfam
  • CRUMP (Campaign To Recycle Unwanted Mobile Phones)
  • Scope

What are they made from?

Mobiles contain a range of materials including metals and plastics. Many of the raw materials are mined from the earth and can therefore be extracted and recycled –  this includeds valuable components – such as cobalt, silver and gold. They also contain batteries that need to be properly disposed of.

How are they Recycled and What happens to them afterwards?

When a phone cannot be refurbished to be resold then mobile phone recyclers may then recover parts that can be used to recondition other mobile phones before breaking the phone down into its sortable materials for recycling.

Recycling processes may include:

  • Parts Recovery: With the rise of high-end mobile phones there is considerable value in extracting working components to refurbish other phones. These parts may include LCD screens, digitizers, camera assemblies, circuit boards, flash memory cards and speakers.
  • Metals recovery: Metal components are extracted from the device before been separated by type and ground up. They are then recycled by type of material.
  • Plastic recovery: Plastic can be recovered from the components by recycling processes. Complete plastics may then, depending on type, be shredded and recycled.
  • Glass Recovery: certain mobile phones now contain glass that can be separated from the device and recycled.

Many manufacturers have signed up to the Basel Convention agreeing to cooperate with developing environmentally sound management to end-of-life mobile phones. Several manufacturers are also using recycled materials within their new products.

What else can we do?

Give your old phone to a member of your family or friend, what’s outdated to you may be hi-tech to your mother. Re-using is a great way to recycle mobile phones!