Article Archive >> Entertainment

Recycling Unwanted Cell Phones

Recycling Unwanted Cell Phones

Worldwide demand for the latest cell phone technology is projected to generate sales of more than 740 million new phones in 2005, according to industry sources. Most of these purchases are replacements for cell phones that are working, but which lack the latest features, such as a camera or Internet access.
For consumers reluctant to discard an otherwise functional phone, or for those who may be concerned about the environment effects of thousands of tons of batteries and electronics in America's landfills, recycling those unwanted cell phones is the solution.
Most cell phone users don't know that every cell phone sold in the United States is required to be able to place an emergency call to 911, even without a contract with a carrier such as Verizon or Cingular. This makes a recycled phone useful as an emergency means of calling for help for those unable to afford a monthly contract, such as residents living in battered women's shelters. However, this form of recycling accounts for only a tiny percentage of the avalanche of working, unused phones that accumulates in desk drawers in homes and businesses.
As more and more cell phone customers upgrade their phones for the latest features and gadgets, many have exposed a growing interest in finding a simple, useful way to turn their unwanted phones into cash for themselves or a favorite cause.
Surprisingly, there is a demand for good used cell phones, primarily for export to other countries that are just developing their telecommunications networks. The reason: it is less expensive to put up cell phone towers than to run regular phone lines to homes and businesses in underdeveloped areas. Once this infrastructure is in place, inexpensive recycled cell phone handsets complete the process of bringing modern communications to some of the least developed areas of the world. Older cell phones, often more rugged and reliable than the latest models, are highly practical in this environment.
In other cases, some of the newer models are often remanufactured for resale in the United States, often with prepaid plans, or sometimes offered as "free" phone with an annual contract.
So while there is a home somewhere for that cell phone gathering dust, getting it there is the challenge. The logistics of collecting, processing, and recycling used cell phones requires a great deal of skill, and is tough to do on a small scale.
A company in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond has carved out a niche in recycling used cell phones and is working with individuals, non-profit organizations and even large businesses to turn used cell phones into extra money.
According to Tom Pace, CEO of PaceButler Corporation, "Every day we buy thousands of used cell phones from individuals and businesses. But most exciting is helping churches, YMCAs, Scout troops and other organizations with their fundraising. By collecting used cell phones from their members and the public, they can raise hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for their causes."
The company's website,, serves as an online resource for individuals and groups interested in turning their unwanted cell phones into cash. "We pay up to $50 each for some of the newer cell phones that are in good working condition," said Pace. "However, some of the older models, or ones that are not in working condition, have no value," said Pace. "Even those that can't be reused can still be recycled. The non-working items and their batteries are sold to scrap material processors, which keeps the materials out of landfills."
People who would prefer to donate their used cell phones to benefit a worthy cause can look on the Internet for the American Cell Phone Drive at This affiliate helps people find a handy place to drop off their unwanted cell phones, with the value going to the charitable cause of their choice. "This is truly a win/win solution for everyone," said Pace. "People working together can make a difference in helping the environment, themselves and others."
For more information about recycling used cell phones, including how to earn cash back for unwanted phones, go online to or

Printable version

<< back to Articles on Entertainment
<< back to All Articles