Our hours have changed -- please visit the Locations page for updated information.

Cell Phone Recycling

Due to the quickly-changing and ever-evolving nature of technology, the amount of handheld electronics produced annually rapidly increases year after year. Because of our need to use the latest and greatest technologies, the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills also skyrockets. 

Thankfully, many cell phone companies have begun to adhere to new policies in order to distance themselves from the increasing environmental concern that faces the dumping of these electronics.

Many people are unaware that they can, in fact, recycle these smartphones and other handheld electronics.

What Parts of My Cell Phone are Recyclable?

Almost the entirety of your cell phone can be recycled (almost 80%). However, the process must be performed carefully so that no damaging chemicals are exposed to the environment.

The plastic, metal, and glass used to make your cell phone or smartphone can be melted and molded to make in other phones or electronic appliances.

Which Parts are Reusable?

If not damaged, phone parts such as LCD screens, batteries, plastic cases, and SIM cards can be reused during the manufacturing process of other phones.

Can Mobile Phone Chargers be Recycled?

Yes! Currently, only about 20% of cell phone chargers are recycled. The metal present in non-functioning chargers can potentially be valuable.

Save them up and bring them in! 

Can Throwing Away Cell Phones Harm the Environment?

Unfortunately, yes.

Many states have banned cellphones and smartphones from landfills due to the harmful compounds that are released into the environment as these items break down. However, they are nearly fully recyclable and sometimes reusable. 

LCD phone, tablet, and e-reader screens are extremely vulnerable and breakable. Research has shown that the liquid crystal and Indium negatively impact the environment.

Also, these crystals can potentially leak into the groundwater system, harming any life form that resides in the area or drinks from that source.

Is it Illegal to Throw My Used Cell Phone Away?

Currently, 25 states prohibit throwing away your mobile phones because of the potential negative impact on the environment. Because of these laws, it has become much easier to find recycling companies who will gladly accept your used electronics. Some states even offer phone recycling events where you drop your phone off for recycling purposes.

Should I Erase My Data Before Bringing My Cell Phone in for Recycling?

It’s always a good idea to back up and then delete your information just in case there’s sensitive data like passwords or sentimental photos that you may want to recall or view at a later date. Reputable, certified electronics recyclers (including Cohen) will have measures in place to further protect your data security through the recycling process. Be wary of any electronic recycling provider who can’t speak to certifications, data security, or where your electronics will ultimately end up!

Next Steps

By recycling our cellphones and smartphones, we’re taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, preventing the deterioration of the ozone layer, and promoting a healthier environment for us all. 

Let Cohen properly recycle your cell phones and smartphones.