Everyone talks about recycling cell phones, but when that phone dies, honestly, it either goes to the kids or sits on top of the bookshelf until it turns into a tiny ball of dust. We expect the cell phones to grow legs, Transformers style, and tell us when it’s right to donate them. Let’s face it – there are plenty of websites to tell us HOW to do it, but not much to tell us WHEN to do it. Since the cell phone isn’t going to hold our hand on this, we need to learn when to do it ourselves.
Start by deciding if you really are going to use that phone again. Keep in mind that the kids will destroy it if they use it as a toy. The screen will crack, the battery will be ripped out (even if you could never figure out how to get the battery out, they will), and the thing will be in shambles before you can even utter “donate.” Before you hand it over, decide if you are going to donate it. While you can donate phones which are years old, remember too that technology changes – there may come a time in the future when NO ONE will be able to use that phone. It will have grown dinosaur style scales.
After you’ve decided that the kiddos aren’t getting their paws on this one, or if you find that dust ball on the bookshelf is gravitated by a cell phone, prepare it for donation. You should never, ever donate a phone until after it has been cleaned off. That doesn’t mean wiping off the snot or dirt. It means powering it up to make sure your personal data is gone. The passwords must be gone, the phone must be deactivated and all personal information must be removed. Why would you trust a stranger to handle this for you? It’s not time to donate it until it’s clean. If you can’t charge it up to check it out, take it to your service provider. They will usually help you out, especially if they know you plan to donate the phone.
So, before you send it off to someone such as SecondWave Recycling, know when to send it. Send it when you decide you do not need it, you are not going to let the younger generation toy with it, and you have cleaned it up completely.