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?

There are a few things you need to do before recycling your phone to ensure your privacy is protected:

  1. Make sure the account has been deactivated and all bills have been fully paid.
  2. Remove the SIM card (if there is one).
  3. Clear all personal information.

To do this, you want to delete all photos, messages, contacts and personal files. Contact your phone’s manufacturer and you can get detailed instructions on how to clear your specific device of all personal information.

Where can I drop off my old cell phone?

You can check with your wireless service provider, local recycling depot, or their provincial recycling council websites for recycling options and drop-off locations near you. There are also many neighbourhood not-for-profit organizations that can put old but still working devices to good use, including women’s shelters and CNIB’s Phone it Forward program.

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


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