How to Properly Recycle Your Cell Phone in California

Cell phones have become a necessity for Californians to stay in touch, do business and communicate. In 2019 it is estimated that in California alone there were 12.73 million cell phones sold with an estimated recycling rate of old phones at only 3% according to

Because cell phones use metals such as lead and cadmium in their manufacturing, the fact that an estimated 97% of these phones are not recycled is staggering.

California Cell Phone Recycling

California is trying increase these recycling rates with its passage of the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004, but as the numbers of recycled cell phones are still low, more needs to be done.

This is the foundation of why was born. Secondwave recycling, in its efforts to reduce hazardous waste in landfills, created a cell phone recycling program that is environmentally friendly and gives back the proceeds to charities.

How Cell Phone Recycling Works in California With Secondwave Recycling

We wanted the process to be simple and convenient so that people are encouraged to recycle their old phones using Secondwave while maintaining strict security standards while doing so.

The recycling process is easy and looks much like this:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on the “Donate Now” button
  3. Fill out a brief “info” box
  4. We send you a free shipping label
  5. Pack it
  6. Ship it
  7. We wipe any personal information from the phone
  8. The phone is recycled or refurbished
  9. From there we donate proceeds to various charities
  10. You feel great for doing the right thing!

Once we receive your old cell phone, it is thoroughly recycled in a secure and environmentally friendly manner working with an electronics recycler or refurbished and resold. Cell phones contain precious metals that can be broken down and re-used as commodities or refurbished in working condition, and then resold.

We set out to design a company that not only protects the environment for future generations, but also, in turn uses the proceeds for old phones to enhance the lives of the people of the charities we support.

What Types Of Devices Can Secondwave Recycling Accept in California?

We accept the following devices:

  • iPhones & Smartphones (working or not)
  • iPads
  • Tablets
  • Basic cell phones
  • Macbooks
  • Chromebooks

*Please note; We do not accept desktop computers, landlines, monitors or other electronics not listed above.

Why Should I Recycle My Old Phone?

The fact is, the average person buys a new cell phone every 18 to 24 months. There are now more cell phones in the world than people. There are a staggering number of old phones lying around or sitting in our landfills as a result.

Over time, these phones will degrade and will have the potential of hazardous metals seeping into our environment.

Beyond that, legislation in many states, including California has made the act of throwing away electronics illegal, for good reason. Now, with Secondwave Recycling, the confusion of where and when to recycle you phone has been alleviated. We make it easy!