The rapid pace at which the mobile phone industry moves means that new models are coming out all the time. In fact, there has never been so much choice when it comes to mobile phones as there is today.

However, with mobile phones becoming almost annual purchases nowadays, what should you be doing with your old one? Luckily, we’ve produced this short guide which will give you a number of options and ensure that your old mobile phone doesn’t go to waste – or even worse, go to landfill.

Why should you recycle?

Believe it or not, unwanted electrical equipment is the UK’s fastest growing type of waste. The truth, however, is that many items, including mobile phones, can be successfully repaired or recycled. This saves precious natural resources and lessens our impact on the environment. The importance of recycling can be seen in the government’s Reducing and Managing Waste policy.

The problem with not recycling your old mobile phone is that it will inevitably end up on a landfill site. This will see it leaking hazardous substances over time which may contaminate soil and/or water sources. The result is that harm could be caused to wildlife and people in the near vicinity.

The WEEE directive

The EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is in place to encourage people to try and recycle old electrical goods, such as mobile phones, whenever they buy new ones. As part of this directive, UK retailers must provide ways for their customers to recycle their old items without incurring any costs.

Simple recycling

Recycling your phone doesn’t need to involve any strenuous effort on your part. Simply giving your old handset to a sibling or close friend who will use it going forward can be classed as recycling. It means that they won’t need to buy a new handset and your old one won’t end up sitting on a landfill site.

People have been recycling clothes this way for generations and hand-me-down garments have been a charity shop stalwart for years. Therefore, there’s no reason why you can’t do this with any of your electrical items too.

Online recycling

If you don’t have time to visit a recycling centre then there are actually online alternatives designed to help you recycle your items. Freecycle is one such online recycling website that allows you to list pretty much anything that is now surplus to your requirements for other people to contact you about.

Your recycling ad is posted much like a regular classified post but you will receive enquiries from people who want to take the goods off your hands for free. They will personally come to your house and it’s up to them how they transport the items. This makes Freecycle a great option for people who are unable to get out of the house very often or are too busy for other recycling solutions.

Tescos also have a scheme where you can recycle your print cartridges in exchange for Clubcard points.  So take a look online and get recycling now!


Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) , What Stationers (2007) and more recently, Peter Millikin (2018). Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment.

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