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10 places where you can donate your old phone to charity
One certainty of the 21st century is that we accumulate old devices in our drawers and cupboards. You might have vague thoughts that you might still need your old phone or you could sell it. But it inevitably sits and gathers dust. One idea is to recycle it. This could be by selling or trading it in for a discount on your new device, but the most charitable way to recycle your phone is to give it to a good cause. In this spirit, we’ve compiled a list of places where to donate your old cell phones.
Where to donate your old phone
Although you might not immediately think it, there are a wide array of organizations that can make use of your old phone.
Some will refurbish it and sell it to raise funds for a cause. Some will use it to improve lives. Many will provide you with means to ship it for free, while others might ask for a little more charity by asking you to cover the shipping costs.
What they have in common is a goal to make the world a better place. You can decide which one you think is the most worthy of receiving your old device. We’ll outline ten good options, but they’re not the only choices out there if you want to do further research for yourself.
This list relates to the United States, but some of the organizations operate internationally, and there are likely to be similar charities in other countries.
The Salvation Army works in 133 countries and helps 25 million people in America alone each year. The ways they help are many and varied, from easing hunger and homelessness to disaster relief and after-school programs.
Equally varied is the range of goods you can donate, and cell phones are one of the items they accept. They might not be accepted at every Salvation Army location, but it’s easy to find out. You can enter your ZIP code on the website to find a drop-off location near you, or you can give them a call.
Cell Phones for Soldiers
Cell Phones For Soldiers is a non-profit committed to providing active and veteran military service personnel with communication services and emergency funding. Through the recycling of over 25 million cell phones, the charity has reduced the impact on landfills while providing more than 400 million minutes of airtime to the troops over the last couple of decades.
The organization doesn’t actually send the donated devices to military personnel for security and cost reasons. It sells the phones after they’ve been refurbished and then buys gift cards for the men and women in the field to use as authorized phones.
If you’re donating fewer than ten devices, then you’ll need to pay for the shipping when you send in your phone, although it is made very easy to do on the website. Alternatively, you can drop your old handset at any of over 3,000 locations across the country.
Medic is dedicated to creating, distributing, and maintaining cutting-edge, open-source software for healthcare professionals who serve in the most inaccessible regions of the world, especially in parts of Asia and Africa.
You can print a free shipping label from the website to send your old phone. As well as preventing the device from getting tossed in the garbage, it will be recycled, and the proceeds will fund the various projects of the organization.
Call 2 Recycle started out focusing on recycling old batteries to keep the toxic waste they produce out of the garbage system. They now accept all cell phones too, even without the batteries. The materials may be reused in other products, or the cell phone can be resold and help fund the recycling and education initiatives.
The organization has drop-off locations scattered across the country. Head to the website and provide your ZIP code to find out the nearest one to you.
One of the more familiar non-profits on the list, Goodwill helps those struggling to find work to reskill and find the right opportunity. By donating old cell phones, your local Goodwill organization can sell it in physical stores or online, generating revenue to fund essential employment training and job placement services for individuals within your community.
Goodwill is another drop-off-only option. Use the store locator button on the website to find your nearest Goodwill donation center.
GreenDrop is another organization that accepts a wide variety of goods, including your old cell phone. Although it’s a for-profit business, it’s a professional fundraising project that supports non-profits such as the American Red Cross and the National Federation of the Blind.
Greendrop has thrift shops that sell the goods and keeps them out of landfill. You can drop your old cell phone into any one of these locations, which can be located through the website.
Call to Safety
Call to Safety, which was originally the Portland Women’s Crisis Line is among the pioneering sexual violence crisis lines in the United States, with its primary service area being Portland, Oregon, and Washington.
One of Call to Safety’s key initiatives involves distributing functional phones to domestic and sexual violence survivors, enabling them to contact 911 for help. Additionally, the organization recycles damaged phones as a source of income to finance its services.
Your old phone is accepted in any condition. Just head to the site and find the mailing address to which you can send your device.
Secure the Call
Secure the Call specializes in recycling donated cell phones and redistributing them to vulnerable people in the community. These could be elderly people or domestic violence victims, giving them the ability to call the emergency service in times of crisis.
There are two ways to donate your old device to Secure the Call. You can either print a shipping label off the website and mail the phone or find your nearest drop-off barrel. They ask you to pay the postage for mailing the handset if you can, but ultimately, they’ll pay for it if you just want to get rid of your device.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) works to support victims of domestic abuse in a number of ways and seeks to address the root causes that lead to such behaviors. The programs include Remember My Name, memorializing the many women, children, and men killed by abusers in the US, and Reproductive Coercion, which is the behavior used to pressure or coerce a woman into becoming pregnant or into continuing or ending a pregnancy against her will.
There’s a link specifically related to donating a phone on the homepage, with devices accepted in any condition. You mail the organization your old handset at your own cost, although if you donate three or more devices, shipping is free.
If you prefer to donate old cell phones to help out animals, then Cell4Pets might be the option for you. Rather than just accepting it as a donation, Cell4Pets provides the option to purchase your old phone if it still holds value. They buy various devices, including iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, and tablets. Once your device is resold or recycled, Cell4Pets donates a portion of the proceeds to North Shore Animal League, a no-kill animal shelter that assists dogs and cats in need.
You can get a quote for the value of your old device on the website and print out a free shipping label if you want to go ahead with the sale or donation.
Helping these causes is very noble, but it’s fair to say that not everyone is financially able to give away their old device for free. We’ve got a guide on how you can sell your old phone to raise a bit of extra cash.