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Donating and Recycling Old Cell Phones, iPods, and Other Electronic Gadgets

By Edited Sep 18, 2015 2 10

Would you like to help a worthy cause by donating your old cell phones, iPods or other electronic gadgets? Here are some companies that will put your old dust collectors to good use.

HopePhones (hopephones.org)

Every cell phone given to community health workers connects distant patients to a medical clinic. A $10 cell phone will give 50 families access to emergency medical care, health information, transport services, and clinic resources.

When your old phone is received by the recycling center, it is given a value. They will use this value to purchase appropriate, usable cell phones for community health workers at the medical clinics. The average donated phone in the US will allow them to purchase 2-3 cell phones for clinics.

Reconnect (reconnectpartnership.com)

Reconnect is a residential computer recycling program that offers an easy, convenient and responsible way to recycle your used computer equipment. You can drop off any brand of used equipment at participating Goodwill donation centers in your area.

It's free, and you'll get a receipt for tax purposes. What's more, you'll be helping protect the environment and benefiting your community at the same time.

In general, Reconnect accepts any brand of computer equipment in any condition from consumers and recycles it for free. They will also accept just about anything that can be attached to a computer. Check their web page for a complete list of what they will and will not accept.

Use the "Find a Location" feature to see if a Goodwill near you participates in the program. If Reconnect is not yet available in your area, let them know. Goodwill and Dell are working to continue expanding the program and share a long term goal of making it available nationwide.

As a general rule, consumers can just drop off the item(s) at any participating Goodwill. However, some items may require extra preparation before you bring them in. For details, check out the "items we accept" page.

Feel good about what you've done. Your donated equipment has value, sometimes as a whole system, sometimes as parts, and sometimes as raw materials such as metals, plastics and glass. The proceeds from your donation are all returned to Goodwill and help to support Goodwill's important mission of putting people to work. You'll get a receipt for tax purposes, plus you'll be helping to protect the environment and benefit your community at the same time!

Goodwill (goodwill.org)

Goodwill accepts your new or gently used items like clothing, appliances, electronics and furniture, and sells them in their well-known Goodwill retail stores.

The sales of your donations help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.

Phones 4 Charity (phones4charity.org)

Phones 4 Charity is a national program designed to remove used cell phones from the country's environment while directly benefiting charitable organizations. Their cell phone recycling program is designed to help enable charities & organizations raise funds when monetary donations from individuals and corporations are receding.

For donations of 30 or more phones, Phones 4 Charity will arrange shipping for you. For donations of less than 30 phones, follow 3 easy steps to send your phone.

1. Make sure that the service on your phone has been disconnected and that any personal information you may need has been copied.

2. Address either a padded envelop or a box to Phones 4 Charity (you can find their address on the website). Be sure to include detailed contact information including the charity you wish to donate to.

3. Drop your package off at your local post office or shipping center.

Non-working phones will be recycled. If your donated phone cannot be reused as a service phone or for 911 call capability, it will be recycled in accordance with federal and local environmental standards for its metal and plastic components.

You can also check with other charitable organizations in your community to find out if they accept cell phones and other electronic items.

City Recycling Programs

If you are unable to find anyone interested in your aging gadgets, contact your local waste hauler or city hall to find out about their recycling programs.

If you are interested in selling your old cell phones and electronic items, please see:

Where to Sell or Recycle Old Cell Phones, iPods, and Other Electronic Gadgets



Jun 21, 2010 6:56pm
Nice article! I know a family that started an orphanage in Haiti. Not sure if they still do it, but we were sending old cell phones which are in high demand there. They fixed them and the proceeds went towards feeding the orphans in Haiti.
Jun 21, 2010 11:45pm
Hello Music 101; Thank you for your comment and charitable contributions!
Jun 29, 2010 1:42pm
I've always recycled cell phones, but had no idea what to do with all the computer equipment in my garage. Thanks for the article; I'll be contacting our local Goodwill very soon.
Jun 29, 2010 8:36pm
Hi dgast, thanks for the comment!
Jul 5, 2010 10:14am
Thanks for all the great articles on recycling. For some reason, no matter how much internet research I do on recycling in my city, I come up empty handed. The information you provide is very valuable.
Jul 5, 2010 1:33pm
I appreciate your comments, thank you so much dadbintheadmin!
Jul 15, 2010 11:15am
Thanks for the recycling info. It's so important that we protect the environment by not dumping this stuff into landfills. We were delighted recently to find a recycling event at a nearby church. They accepted any electronic equipment for a small price of pennies per pound. We were able to get rid of some old TVs, hard line telephones and outdated Satelite dish equipment lying around. The proceeds went to support a high school athletic team.
Jul 17, 2010 12:19am
Looks like you found a great place to donate your items! Thank you for the comment thinkwrite17!
Oct 26, 2010 9:55am
I didn't know that Goodwill had any way to take old computers and computer equipment. Until your article, I had never heard of Goodwill's Reconnect program. I will be looking into this in my area. Thank you for sharing this valuable information; great job.
Oct 26, 2010 3:18pm
Thanks jeni10! I don't know if GW's Reconnect has a location in your area, but I hope so. Good luck!
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