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Mobile phone 'recycling'


I have a stack (~15) of ancient phones & their chargers plus various accessories that I need to get rid of. A few work, most don't, and none of them are smart phones.

I've read the MSE Mobile Recycling page and, despite the official stance being "don't donate to charity, flog it instead and done the proceeds along with Gift Aid", I have neither the time nor the inclination to do this, especially given that it would probably make less than a fiver at best!

I found this great page of an initiative run by Tesco (I can't post the link, but it was called A Greener Solution) whereby not only would they take the phone in for recycling, but for every device they would donate a minimum of £1 to a charity called Whizz-Kids, whether the phone works or not. Unfortunately this initiative is no more, but the page still exists.

So, I would like to give them all to charity, but have 2 questions:
1) Does anyone really know what happens when broken phones are sent off for recycling? I know the standard process of either refurbishing and sending to 3rd world, or broken down into core components? Insider info would be great to know!
2) More importantly, can anyone suggest a worthwhile charity to send them to? I'm aware of the usual suspects (e.g. Red Cross, Oxfam, MacMillan etc), but would prefer to send to a smaller one which doesn't have as much visibility. A non-mainstream charity, if you will!

Would welcome your thoughts on this :)

Am happy to post/move this to a different forum if this one is inappropriate, but the Sell Old Mobiles Forum (which is still currently linked on the Mobile Recycling page) is now locked.


  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,012 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Can't help with what happens to old phones, but for non-mainstream charities, I'd either suggest something close to your heart, and then google that kind of thing plus your local area, or think of 'unpopular' causes and ditto. So, domestic abuse (your local women's refuge might re-purpose your phones as they stand?); addiction (drugs / alcohol / gambling); homelessness; prisoners; sexual exploitation ...
    Signature removed for peace of mind
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