Should I Recycle or Donate My Old Cell Phone?

Should I Recycle or Donate My Old Cell Phone?

Here at Lakeshore Recycling Systems, we know that it’s easy for e-waste to pile up around the home or office. The evolution of technology marches on, which means that you constantly need to upgrade the equipment that keeps your home and business running smoothly. As a result old computers, laptops, and more can start to take up a lot of space.

Although they’re quite small in comparison, old cell phones can also start to accumulate over the years. Some people may wonder what they should do with an older phone that’s no longer useful to them. One option is to donate it. Some businesses or organizations can take it and give it to someone in need, provided that your phone is still in working order. Another option is to recycle it. Some of our Chicagoland recycling centers can assist you with that. Below is a closer look at donating versus recycling old cell phones.


Many organizations allow you to donate your cell phones for a good cause. In some cases, they end up recycling it for you so it doesn’t matter whether or not your old smartphone works properly at the moment. These groups raise money for a wide variety of causes, primarily ones that concern phone usage and access to communication technology.

One example is Cell Phones For Soldiers, which takes in old cell phones and gives members of the United States military phone cards. This group collects the phones and then sells them to another company, using what money they make to buy phone cards for troops located overseas. Some organizations raise money to provide phone service for at-risk individuals, like senior citizens, while others let you choose what charity you want to donate to. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence can also take in your phones and give working ones to families in need. There are more than a few ways to get rid of your old phone for a worthy cause.


If you don’t want to donate your phone, it can’t just go in the garbage. Your phone requires many components to work, and some of those components happen to be toxic. Improperly disposing of toxic elements in your phone, could present a hazard for humans and animals. It pollutes the environment and releases harmful substances known as PBTs, also known as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals.

If the PBTs pollute the environment, they cause a wide range of health issues, ranging from cancer to reproductive system problems. That’s why most areas have regulations concerning how they’re disposed of or recycled. Once properly dealt with, the components used in your cell phone can be used in a number of other products. Copper parts, plastic pieces, and other metal components can all be used again to build new products. You’re getting rid of clutter in your house, while ensuring that the manufacturing process for some other items is a little bit greener.

Both options are a great way to get rid of old cell phones that have been cluttering up desk drawers and office closets. Contact us at (773) 685-8811 today to see how we can help with any of your recycling needs.

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Service Update

Due to Independence Day, on Saturday, July 4, 2020 residential waste and recycling services provided by Lakeshore Recycling Systems may be affected the week of July 6th. For more information regarding your specific service area, click here.

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