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New Life for Old Phones

Some 130 million mobile phones are discarded each year, and since they contain toxins such as arsenic and lead, it makes sense to keep them out of landfills. But you can also get dollars for old, working models when it’s time to renew your cellular phone service contract and get a new phone.

GreenPhone pays you by check, or via PayPal or Obopay—your choice. Simply click on the make and model of your old phone, and you’re told what it’s worth. Then print out a free mailing label, send it off and you’ll get paid within about 30 days.

PhoneIsCash is another such service, but it doesn’t provide free shipping. It does, however, accept old iPods in working order. PaceButler offers free FedEx shipping but doesn’t accept iPods.

Those services typically pay $10 to $20 for most models. Since they ship around the globe, be sure to erase all numbers and other information on your phone before sending it. Meanwhile, there’s also eBay’s ezTradeIn, where you can sell all types of electronics for PayPal cash.

For the more altruistic, there are many charities that accept old cellphones—with no payment to you—including:

CollectiveGood, which provides a tax credit for your donation. It sponsors numerous charities.

Cell Phones for Soldiers, started by a brother-sister team (then 12 and 13) to collect phones so soldiers can make overseas calls to home.

T-Mobile’s Huddle Up program, which provides phones to children of single-parent families.

Verizon’s HopeLine initiative, which provides cellphones to victims of domestic abuse.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).