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Recycle Cell Phones for Profit

Updated on May 31, 2013

The Perfect Business

If you need to make some extra money and are looking for a low cost business, then recycling cell phones for profit may be the perfect business for you.

Currently, there are more than 200 million cell phone users in the United States who upgrade their old cell phone, on the average, every 12 to 18 months. This means that more than 175 million cell phones are expected to be replaced this year! If you add that number to the more than 600 million old cell phones that are thought to currently reside in drawers and closets around America you can see there is no shortage of available product. Less than 5% of these phones are collected for reuse and recycling. This means that this business has a tremendous upside.

Just think about it, if each of those cell phones retired every year have an average sale value of $5 to$150 - that’s an average of over $1 billion which is just lying around gathering, not interest, but dust. In fact with every passing day those retired cell phones are losing value.

But fear not fellow entrepreneurs, each day about 360,000 more cell phones are added to the stockpile. That’s more than 4 each second. Before you are done reading this article another 500 cell phones will be retired.

How can the eco-entrepreneur, the college student, or the stay at home mom capitalize on this phenomenon?

Although millions of consumers are recycling their cell phones at retailers when they purchase a new phone or upgrade service, more than 70% still do not know what to do with their old phone. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to approach these consumers and collect ALL their phones – not just the ones they have with them when they purchase a new one.

One of the most effective ways to collect phones from end users is to find a local charity or civic cause to support, enlist their help and then advertise your collection efforts. Let’s face it; the efforts of local charities directly impact the members of their communities. Many people will support a local group or cause much faster than they will support one on a National level. Many organizations have public outreach programs which cause them to interact with large members of their community on a regular basis. Use these events and efforts to advertise your collection. Some agencies do door-to-door collections at different times of the year. Try to piggyback off these and have them leave flyers, bags or door hangers throughout the community.

Advertising may include asking the local newspaper or magazine to place a public service announcement in their publication, or asking a TV or radio station to run public service announcements. If your city has a newsletter, see if they will donate some space to you.

Another great place to market your collection efforts is through the Chamber of Commerce. These organizations are comprised of area businesses whose owners and workers live in the community and who have a vested interest in supporting local causes – as well as helping to keep their environment clean.

Most organizations are more than happy to share the revenue you help them raise. Remember, the key to success using this type of program is to reach people where they live and work as well as show them that by getting rid of their “trash”, they can raise money for a worthy cause - and help keep the environment clean.

There is absolutely nothing that says you need to hitch your wagon to a local cause; you can certainly start a local cell phone recycling business by using the same strategies I outlined above without the charity.

The above examples are only a couple of ways you can generate revenue and do a good thing. The sky is the limit when it comes to this type of business and you’re only limited by your own imagination.

Collection Strategies: Finding The Phones

Each year more than $1 billion dollars worth of cell phones are retired when consumers change handsets. This means there is plenty of opportunity for you to make money by recycling old cell phones. Your challenge is not how or where to sell the phones you collect, but figuring out how to round up the millions of cell phones in the desk drawers, closets and warehouses of America.

It is estimated by many industry and environmental groups that only 5% of consumers recycle their old cell phones, even though 70% see the need for a cell phone recycling solution. This means that cell phone recycling is still very much an emerging business opportunity. The best things about this business are the fact that there is plenty of product, it doesn’t take a lot of capital to get started, and there is absolutely no problem finding people who are willing to buy the phones you collect.

Working with Consumers
Most consumers are aware that their old cell phones have components which are hazardous to the environment and know they should not throw them away. If you simply appeal to their sense of community and environmental responsibility most people will give you their phones. The trick is to catch them when they have the phone close at hand or have time to find their old phones.

The best way to reach consumers is by either marketing your services to them at their homes or place of employment. As with many other services you can market your services door-to-door by using door hangers or flyers, enlisting the aid of local civic groups, or direct mail. As far as going to businesses, most companies have an area where they promote recycling glass, plastics, paper, etc. It is relatively easy to ask them to place a cell phone collection box in this same area and then stop by to pick up the phones every week or two.

Working with Retailers
Cell phone waste and the potential environmental hazards improper disposal may cause is gaining national attention. You can help cell phone retailers recognize the advantages that recycling old cell phones can have for their business such as positive press, increased business and goodwill in the community.

Beginning next month the State of California requires all wireless retailers to provide a no-cost way for their customers to recycle their old cell phones. In fact, The Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 makes it illegal for a wireless retailer to sell a cell phone if they don’t provide a way for their customers to recycle their old cell phones.

Providing retailers in California with a comprehensive cell phone recycling program not only enables the retailer to comply with the new law, it also helps them bring a needed value add service to their customers.

Helping retailers everywhere is a lot easier than you may think. Encourage retailers to have signs or hand outs in their stores which inform customer’s cell phones can be recycled at their location and include information in advertising and direct sales pitches.

I recommend that you provide this service free to the retailer as long as they recycle at least 50 cell phones each month. Not difficult for a typical retail store. The average retail store does 100 activations or upgrades and 90% are existing wireless users changing carriers so those customers have cell phones to recycle. If the retailer makes the free recycling service part of their sales pitch they should easily be able to collect 50 cell phones for recycling every month.

Why Recycling Cell Phones is the Smart Choice

Recycling phones has become fashionable in recent years but, going by the current numbers, we still have a long way to go. This week is the National Cell Phone Recycling Week in the United States, an event spearheaded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, to encourage more Americans to recycle their used mobile phones. Why recycle phones? Why not just trash these old, clunky, and obsolete units, have these hauled to the landfills, and be done with it? Let's review the reasons why recycling phones is the smart choice: Recycling phones for cash Those old cell phones that you've kept hidden in sock drawers, cupboards, or closets in your house are worth a good amount of money. Cell phone traders and recyclers, like Pacebutler Corporation will pay as much as $100 for each of those mobile phones (depending, of course, on the model, the brand, and the quality of the unit). The older the phones get, the less valuable they become. To get the best value, therefore, for your discarded cell phones, you need to sell these to a recycler, as soon as you upgrade to a newer model. Of course, if you're thinking of keeping a reserve unit if something happens to your new one, by all means, keep one or two, but turn the rest in for cash. Now, if for some reason, you don't need the cash, you can still sell these old units and have the proceeds sent to a charity or non-profit of your choice. When youdonate cell phones this way, you're basically contributing much-needed funds to your preferred charity, from out of something that, in all likelihood, no longer has any value to you.

Recycling phones to clear up clutter In our consumerist society, many of us are constantly drawn to the promise of newer, more advanced techno toys - dataphones, laptops, PDAs, or computers - being churned out by manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, or Motorola. The latest may not always be the best, as we all know, but that's beside the point. People always go for shiny, new things all the time. Case in point: Apple sold 300,000 units of the iPad on the very first day of that product's recent launch! If you're like many t technique can use <script> as normal. Make useof us who are forever captivated by new technology, chances are, there's a sizable collection of old, discarded cell phones and other electronic clutter stored in some forgotten box somewhere in your house or apartment. Recycling phones is an easy and convenient way to clear up a bit of the clutter. The transactions are conveniently done online, and in just a few minutes, you'll have those old cell phones out of your house, for good. An added bonus to having a cleaner pad, would be the check from the used cell phone trader that should be in your mail, within a few days after you've sent the old units to them.

The Perks of Selling Your Used Blackberry

You got the latest, most up-to-date version of your phone. It has a 4.9 pixel digital camera attached. It has a sleek exterior and many cool features. But what do you do with your old smart phone that still works perfectly fine? Should you save it for a rainy day when your new toy happens to break and store it safely away? Or rather, should you sell it and get some cash for your blackberry? The perks of selling your used blackberry now outweigh stashing it for later.

First, by selling your phone and getting cash for blackberrys promotes a cycle of reuse. You are recycling your used phone in the most sustainable method possible; you are giving up your phone for reuse. Because cellular phone use many parts that greatly damage the environment, it is always much better to reuse the entire phone rather than recycle its parts. By selling your phone, you are promoting this sustainable practice and you get cash for your blackberry in the process.

The perk of selling your used phone is not just environmental but also economical. By selling your phone, you get cash for your blackberry. If you are seeking to upgrade your phone to the latest model, this extra chunk of cash will serve to reduce your expenses for the pricey gadget you are investing in. With a new, updated version of your smart phone coming out every few phones, you cannot keep up with the latest phone without denting your wallet in the process. Sell your used phones and get cash for blackberries. Sometimes, we are just scraped for cash. If you are simply behind on the rent or some bills, you can essentially pawn your old blackberry for some cash. Selling your used phones can just get you that cash you need in no time!

Another benefit of selling your used phone is that it provides others an opportunity to share in the same smart phone experience that you love and desire so much. Because smart phones are expensive, it is often unaffordable to many to purchase at retail price. However, by selling your quality used smart phones, you can provide these people who may not be able to afford brand new cell phones the chance to enjoy all the same perks of a smart phone: the instant messaging, the quick Google search, or the Mapquest search. It is a win-win situation in which you get some quick cash for the phone you will no longer need and in which someone who would want that phone can get it at a price that they can afford.

Rather than hoard a collection of used blackberries in your drawer at home, you should start selling your used smart phones and get cash for your blackberries. It will spur a process of reuse that is environmentally sustainable. It will give you the cash you need to upgrade your sleek new cell phone. And it will give others an opportunity to enjoy the smart phone experience. offers quick cash for used Blackberries.


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    • smartchoice profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      Thanks for your kind words heart4theword. It's a good business and there is plenty for everyone.

    • heart4theword profile image


      8 years ago from hub

      The video was educational. Never knew people actually make money recycling old phones...that is other than cellular phone companies themselves. From reading your article, you are a salesperson too:) Informative Hub!

    • smartchoice profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      Thanks for the feedback... I appreciate it.

    • ExpandYourMind profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great small business idea. Thanks for sharing.


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