How to Dispose of Broken Cell Phones

Dispose of Broken Cell Phones

Many people feel quite attached to their cell phones and find them almost indispensable, but this doesn’t mean they’re always able to protect their mobile devices from accidents. There are different causes of broken cell phones. Whether by dropping it, by sitting on it or by mishandling it in the way that toddlers might, there are various reasons why a cell phone can break and perhaps be rendered unusable. If your cell phone is damaged and can’t be salvaged, you’ll have to figure out a responsible way to dispose of it. Here’s a look at how to dispose of a broken cell phone — as well as some tips about what you absolutely must do before parting with it.

Disposal Options For Broken Cell Phones


Recycling responsibly is critical since cell phones contain harmful chemicals such as mercury, bromine, and lead. Also consider that toxic chemicals like the aforementioned can take decades to decompose if they are unleashed into the environment. Fortunately, there are numerous options if you want to responsibly recycle your device. You might be surprised to know that quite a few wireless service providers, mobile device makers, and other entities have programs where they’ll take your broken phone and then refurbish it or strip it down to recycle their components. You can start by contacting your wireless carrier to inquire about any recycling option they might have. Otherwise, you can reach out to the Environmental Protection Agency or CTIA.

Sell it for Parts

You’ve probably seen people selling broken mobile devices on sites like eBay for a small fraction of what it would cost if it were in good repair. Such products would be of interest to people who are looking for parts that they can use to fix their own mobile devices. Other consumers might be interested in refurbishing the broken cell phone. So this is an option if you want to dispose of your broken cell phone. While it might be more trouble than it’s worth to sell it, you can at least earn a bit of money for it rather than simply give it away for free.

Repurpose it

Sometimes a broken cell phone can be repurposed. If the screen is badly damaged, could you possibly use your cell phone as an MP3 player? If some of the buttons are non-operational, could you use the mobile device as a gaming machine? If your broken cell phone still has some functionality that you can benefit from, you might opt to repurpose it rather than dispose of it.

Dispose of Broken Cell Phones

What to Do Before Disposal

Data Erasure

Your cell phone likely has phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, passwords, text messages, voicemail, bank account numbers, and other things that you would consider personal. You definitely need to clear all of this info from your cell phone before you dispose of it. You can remedy this situation by performing a factory reset that will erase the data contained on your mobile device. The process for doing so will differ depending on what type of device you have, so consult the owner manual that came with your cell phone or do a search online.

If you want a comprehensive solution that will completely erase your phone, you can opt for mobile data erasure. With the right solution, you can permanently erase all data from smartphones, cell phones, and tablets running on iOS and Android operating systems. This will ensure that sensitive data is not exposed after mobile devices are disposed of, recycled, traded-in, or resold.


Don’t forget to take out the SIM card and SD card since these things contain personal data. You can transfer your old SIM card to a new device, if your wireless carrier permits it, and you can use your SD card for lots of other things. So in the rush to dispose of a broken cell phone, don’t forget to remove the cards.

Even if you baby your cell phone, there’s always the chance that it could get damaged to the point where it’s virtually unusable. In such cases, it’s important to dispose of it responsibly, if you don’t want to keep it for some other purpose, so that your personal data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

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