Thinking of getting rid of your old cell phone? If you’re not interested in selling your old device, there’s always the option to recycle it! We will go over how to protect your personal information before recycling your phone and provide some resources for how to do it.
Why do people recycle their old cell phones?
Unwanted cell phones and other electronics (e-waste) can be recycled to avoid adding waste to landfills and to decrease the amount of raw materials needed to make new products. So, if your phone is too broken or old to sell, you may be interested in recycling it instead.
What should I do before I recycle my cell phone?
According to Recycle My Cell, a free program in Canada to recycle your cell phone and accessories, there are a few things you need to do before recycling your phone to ensure your privacy is protected:
- Make sure the account has been deactivated and all bills have been fully paid.
- Remove the SIM card (if there is one).
- Clear all personal information.
To do this, you want to delete all photos, messages, contacts and personal files. Recycle My Cell has a tool that allows you to select your phone’s manufacturer and model and provides detailed instructions on how to clear your specific device of all personal information.
Where can I drop off my old cell phone?
Recycle My Cell allows you to scope out the closest drop off locations on their website. Alternatively, you can mail your device to be recycled (for free).
What about other products I want to recycle?
There is also a provincial program, called BC Recycles, where you can find out more about different products you can recycle and where you can return them.
Buying a new cell phone? Remember you can unlock your new phone for free!
Keep in mind that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that as of December 1, 2017, all consumers have the right to have their cell phones unlocked free of charge upon request.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
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12 thoughts on “Getting rid of your old cell phone? Here’s what you need to know”
awesome information thanks for sharing
Impressive！Thanks for the post
this is all interesting but how can I get rid of information on the phone’s internal drive if it no longer boots up (i.e. is in reboot loop)? I don’t want to have someone with the technical know how to be able to access such personal information? Is there a way to “fry” the internal drive (after I take out the Simm card and Micro SD card)? the phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
Thank you for reaching out to us! We shared this information as it may be useful to consumers but we are not experts when it comes to wiping out information from cell phones. One of the referrals we provided in the post, Recycle My Cell may be able to provide you with more information or point you in the right direction. If you’d like to contact them, here’s their website – https://www.recyclemycell.ca/ Best of luck to you!
Hi, I want to use dead iPhone and Samsung phones to practice for my training class. I want to purchase in bulk. Can you help me in that
Hi Yas, thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, we are not able to help you with getting used electronics. Having said that, perhaps local recycling depots would be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck with your classes!
Is there a way to donate old cell phones to those individuals or groups in need?
Hi Linda, we are not aware of specific organizations in BC you can donate your old cell phones but you may want to contact your local shelters and transition houses and see if they take them. Even if they do not accept them as donations, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!
Some Hospitals or care homes take old phones and load them with music for the people in extended care.
That’s another great option, I didn’t even know about that so thank you for sharing your knowledge!
Is there any way I can dispose of cameras?
Hi Jose, you may want to check out the return-it website for recycling cameras and any other electronic items. They have quite a few locations across BC so you can check to see if there’s one near you. Here is the link to the return-it.ca website. I hope this is helpful!