Did you know that the glass in your smartphone could take 1-2 million years to decompose!? That’s why after upgrading to a brand-new device, it’s important to recycle your old one so that it won’t sit in a landfill for eternity. There are many ways to recycle your old device, from donating it to someone in need to turning it into a security camera. Here are 10 creative ways to recycle your old device!

Donate your Old Phone to Charity

We will start with the best one, donate it to charity! There are tons of charities all over the United States that will take your old phone, fix it up and then pass it on to someone who doesn’t have access to a smartphone.

Some charities to check out include:

  • Cell Phones for Soldiers – A national non-profit organization that provides cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans.
  • Second Wave Recycling – An easy, secure and free program to recycle new, used, and broken devices to support charities.
  • ECO-CELL – Based in Kentucky and has bins where you can drop off your phone. The bins are placed at several zoos around the country, with a list available on their website. This might seem like an unusual location, but it fits with ECO-CELL’s mission to help protect endangered gorillas and chimpanzees whose natural habitat is disrupted by mining for cell phone materials.

Permanent Alarm Clock

The most practical way to recycle your old phone is to make it a dedicated alarm clock with an app that can help you fall asleep or ease you into your day. Try CARROT Alarm, a twist on your basic alarm where you have to complete a few hilariously bizarre chores to shut off the alarm. Or download Pzizz, which helps you quickly quiet your mind, fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.

Now it’s time to get more creative! Here are eight unique things you can do with your old cellphone.

Learn Something New

With an old phone, you can finally try out some tech DIY. Learn how to replace a broken screen or try something more challenging, like disassembling and reassembling a phone. If you’re interested in learning how to fix an old device, YouTube is an excellent resource for third-party tutorials for both iPhone and Android.

Recycle Into a Wallet or Piggy Bank

If your old phone is totally destroyed and cannot be repaired, turn it into a wallet or piggy bank. This will require you to take out the tech inside, leaving just a shell of the phone.

Turn it into a Security Camera

Are you looking to spend less on a security camera? You can use your old smartphone! If you have an old Android, you can download WardenCam. It allows you to view live streaming and past events through motion-captured recordings. WardenCam can help you determine if your package arrived, help check on your loved one’s health and safety, or determine what your pets are up to.

If you have an iPhone, download Alfred. The all-in-one app provides more features than a basic, expensive security camera. You can get a live stream, instant intruder alert, walkie-talkie, and unlimited cloud storage to store, share, and playback your video footage.

Make a Universal Remote Control

This is one of the most popular ways to reuse an old smartphone. Whether it’s running Android or iOS, you’ll be able to control almost anything in your smart home.

Use apps like Amazon Fire TV and Roku to stream your favorite shows. While apps like RCA Universal Remote for Android or Universal Remote TV for iOS will give you the control to change the volume of your TV, change the channels, play/pause video, power on/off, and access settings menus and other on-screen elements.

Create a Portable Gaming Device

Want a way to entertain your grandchildren on long car rides? Turn your phone into a permanent portable gaming device. You can download their favorite games right onto your old smartphone for unlimited hours of fun! Games like Pokémon Go, Minecraft, or Candy Crush keep them occupied on long car rides.

Leave it in Your Car Permanently

Setting your phone up every time you get into your car can take a long time. With an old smartphone, you can permanently fixate it into your car’s phone holder for an easy-to-access GPS. This means you never have to waste your regular phone’s battery or data again.

Sell Your Old Device

If your discarded device is in good shape, it may be worth some cash. First, you can try selling your old phone directly to a buyer through eBay or Craigslist. Other sites like Sell Cell are a fast and easy way to sell your phone online. 

Turn into a Play Phone for your Grandchildren

With your old smartphone, you can play pretend with your grandchild. Make-believe you are calling each other or practice with them on making important calls, like 9-1-1. Though, make sure they know that the phone is just a toy, and if there is an emergency, they should find an adult immediately.


  1. Sophie Miller says

    I have been hacked Facebook and messenger
    What should I do

    reply to Sophie

    • Hi Sophie, thanks for your post. In this case, I’d recommend changing your password for Facebook and if you need any further assistance with that account you will need to reach out to their customer service since we don’t have access to those accounts.

      reply to Jacob

  2. Mary says

    Changing to Consumer Cellular, I learned that there is a $5 PER MONTH charge to not use automatic withdrawal. For some of us senior citizens, we might prefer to pay by check. There is no cost involved if we would just be allowed to see our bill online and pay by check. Perhaps a minimal charge for processing but $5 seems excessive.

    reply to Mary

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for taking the time to post, Mary. Enabling AutoPay and E-Billing is an opportunity to save on monthly service. With AutoPay you can still pay in advance by check but having it set up is a nice backup in case things get busy. Email Billing is also a great option because you’ll get a notice the moment your invoice is available, instead of waiting for it to come in the mail. That being said, the feedback is appreciated and we’ll pass it along.

      reply to Nicole

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.