How To Sell Or Recycle Your Old Phone

You've moved on to your new phone. What to do with the old one? Don't just trash it; sell it off for a profit or send it off for recycling. Here are your options.

Phone recycling picture from Shutterstock

Sell It

If your phone is in relatively good condition, selling it can help you recoup your initial investment. Standard pro tip: when your phone is new, make sure you retain all the packaging. That helps when it comes to reselling it.

You have two fundamental choices here: you can sell the phone yourself through an online marketplace, or trade it in through a phone resale site. Selling it yourself will generally score you more money, but involves more effort: you have to photograph it, list it, deal with potential buyers, and organise despatch. Sites that purchase your phone are far less hassle -- you specify the condition, accept a quote, and send the phone off -- but you'll make less money as a result.

If you decide to sell yourself, a handful of sites dominate. Despite its increasing emphasis on "professional sellers" and recent fee hikes, auction site eBay remains the biggest online second-hand market in Australia. Big audiences equal higher odds for a sale.

If you want a less formal setting, eBay-owned Gumtree is also a popular alternative. Other options include Quicksales, Craigslist, or using your own social networks (if all your Twitter followers are phone freaks, it can be a surprisingly useful outlet).

Whichever venue you choose, check current listing prices to get a realistic idea of what you'll be able to sell for. Very new phones can sell for surprisingly close to market price, but values drop rapidly after the first six months on the market. Network-locked phones will go for less. Remember to fully wipe your phone before sending it off.

If all that seems like too much effort, one of the automatic phone resale sites will do the job, though you will definitely get less money. These sites all work on the same basic model: specify what phone you have and what condition it's in, get given a price, send it in to a freepost address, wait for your payment. Given that near-identical business model, the logical approach is to check them all and choose the best price:

Recycle It

If your phone is heavily damaged or seriously ancient, selling it may be pointless. Don't just throw it in the bin; that's environmentally unsound. Having it recycled is not difficult.

As we've noted before, the dominant provider in this area is MobileMuster. You can print a freepost label from the site to send your phone back, or drop it off in Australia Post outlets, councils and many phone retailers. That's minimal effort to ensure your phone doesn't simply end up as landfill without its still-useful components being redirected.

Other recycling options involve any funds raised from the phone going to a specific charity. Your options here include ARP, They're Calling On You and YouCan.