We all break up with our cell phones someday. Maybe because it’s on the fritz. Or maybe you’ve decided to get a newer model. It happens. But what do you do with your old phone? Instead of tossing it into the trash, which can pollute the environment, consider the following options.

Trade It In

There are stores where you can hand over your phone for cash or an upgrade. If you’re just looking to make some money from your old phone, these stores buy your outdated or faulty device to give them a tune up. These refurbished phones are cheaper and work like brand new. If you’re in the market for a newer model, these stores can also arrange for an upgrade, usually at a lower price.

If you’re unsure where you can find the nearest phone refurbishing store, check online. Some states, like Utah, have laws which require cell phone manufacturers to describe options and locations where customers can send back or recycle their products.

Before trading in your phone, make sure to back up all data in it that you want to keep. You can upload them to a cloud provider, like Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also download them into your computer or a USB.

Once you have all the data you want from your old phone stored safely, sign out all online accounts that you used on the device, like email accounts or any apps that require you to log in. Be sure to remove any SD or SIM cards as well. Finally, wipe all memory from the device with a factory reset.

Donate Your Phone

Alternatively, you can donate your phone to a charity. Some charities sell your device and use the profits to support their advocacies. Others refurbish phones donated to them for specific purposes.

business woman using smartphone

For example, “Cell Phones for Soldiers” uses their proceeds to buy calling cards for American troops, allowing them to call loved ones back home. The charity also gives grants to veterans who need help transitioning back to civilian life.

“Secure the Call” turns phones donated to them into emergency phones. People who cannot afford a phone can use these devices to contact emergency services.  The charity’s beneficiaries include senior citizens, as well as victims of domestic abuse.

Make Something Out of It

If you’re handy with electronics or creative, you can find new ways to use old phone. You can turn your smartphone into a universal remote with a little effort. If you have several smartphones that you’re no longer using, you can secure your home by turning them into a camera network. You can find many guides, videos, and sites online if you’re curious about how you can use your old technology.

Like with all electronics, be very careful when dismantling or altering cell phones. If you don’t have any experience with delicate electronics, read and watch as many tutorials and guides as you can. Make sure you have the proper tools and safety equipment before beginning.

Cell phones are crucial. It’s only natural that to look for upgrades and better alternatives when it comes to these devices. But remember, just because you no longer want to use your old phone doesn’t make it useless. Help yourself, and others, make the most out of it.