Parting with Your Cell Phone


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Americans love their cell phones but we are a fickle group. Although certainly some phones cease to function, many of us simply want the latest and greatest. The average person uses a cell phone approximately 18 months before replacing it. With 200 million plus users in the US alone, this presents an issue as far as disposal. It is currently estimated that there are 500 million cell phones sitting on shelves or in landfills in this country with an additional 2 million phones being added to this total weekly. The EPA has designated mobile phones as hazardous waste due to their lead, mercury, cadium, and arsenic content. Thus, we are faced with the environmental/health issues that arise as well as the economic impact of wasted resources.

So, what are we to do when the time comes to part with a beloved cell phone? There are of course numerous options when you are ready to “trade up" or trash your phone. For those of you who are wishing to rid yourself of not only your cell phone but also a current cellular contract, it may pay to investigate the option of trading your phone and contract via subleasing. One such site that can assist with this is

CellTradeUSA basically connects individuals who wish to get out of a contract with people wanting to get in. You can post a free ad indicating the monthly fee, the minutes, and the remaining contract period that would be assumed. There is a single fee of $19.99 to gain unlimited access to responses from your posting. Once someone is found to assume the contract, the process is brief and simply involves a credit check by the cellular provider and signing a transfer contract. This system allows users to get out of contracts early, pass along their phone to another user, and avoid any early termination fees.

If you are among those cell phone owners who simply wants to trade up without guilt and with less expense than paying full price for the new phone with all the bells and whistles, you might want to check out sites that allow you to “trade". One such site is This site allows you to send in your old phone and obtain a new phone at a reduced cost. The other option offered is simply taking cash for your phone. ( Users are able to determine the value of their phone via a search of the site. Not all models are accepted but their list is extensive. Another program that readily offers cash for old phones is

If you want to support charitable organizations you can investigate other options. The program allows users to sell or donate phones to their choice of several charitable programs. Another program, refurbishes donated cell phones to provide affordable wireless service throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Donations to the program are tax deductible. Additional donation programs include www.wirelessrecycling and among many others. Most of these programs also offer organizations the option of running fundraisers by collecting and sending in used cell phones.

One other option for your old cell phone of course is checking for available programs through your wireless service provider. For instance, Verizon Wireless offers the Hopeline program which collects phones from any provider to assist victims of domestic violence. They also conduct a battery recycling program. Similarly, T-Mobile has a “Get More, Give More" program for recycling batteries, PDAs, accessories, and phones to benefit charities.

Once you’ve decided it’s time to part with your cell phone there really are numerous options. You can simply search on line for the recycling or disposal program of your choice, terminate services for your phone, clear the memory, remove the SIM card, and move on.

Christine Peppler shares information on cell phones, home electonics, and home entertainment on her website: .


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