According to estimates, more than 200 million cell phones are gathering dust in German drawers. New smartphones are flooding the market at an ever-increasing rate – and consumer spending is on the rise. As a result, used cell phones are being discarded more quickly. But where to put the old device? We show you how to dispose of your old cell phone!
Dispose of cell phone or sell it?
Probably the most important question that arises before disposal is the condition of the cell phone. If a device is replaced by a newer model after three or four years, it is usually still fully functional. In this condition, it makes sense to sell the old cell phone. As a rule, a respectable amount of money can be earned this way. In addition, the environment is protected: the longer a smartphone is used on average, the fewer cell phones have to be reproduced. This reduces the demand for raw materials enormously. A standard cell phone contains numerous substances, including rare metals and earths. Around 30 different metals can be detected in smartphones. These include the rare substances neodymium and cerium, but also silver, gold and palladium. Gallium, indium, cobalt and tungsten are also needed for the production of smartphones.
Resale is also sustainable in a social sense: If the consumption of new goods is restricted, this ultimately impairs capitalist systems that are based on exploitation. So there are many good reasons to sell your old cell phone.
However, if the device no longer works, it is very difficult to resell it. In this case, you should dispose of the cell phone. This way, at least the raw materials contained in the device can be recycled, which is ecologically sustainable. It is important that you do not simply throw the device into the household waste. Rather, used cell phones must be handed in at suitable collection points.
Disposal at retail
Since last year, not only electronics stores are obliged to take back old electrical equipment, but also other retail stores, provided their sales area exceeds 800 square meters. If you want to dispose of your cell phone, you can therefore go to Saturn, MediaMarkt and Co. without any problems. For some time now, MediaMarkt has been offering special machines that check smartphones and make a purchase offer. If you accept the offer, you can dispose of your cell phone in the machine and receive a receipt in return, which you can exchange for a gift voucher at the checkout. Disposing of your cell phone is thus possible without much effort. Other stores also accept cell phones on request, but usually do not pay any money.
Disposing of cell phones at Telekom and O2
Some telecommunications companies, including Telekom and O2, also offer to take back used smartphones. The devices can either be dropped off at the companies’ branches or sent in by mail. Instructions for doing so are provided on the websites. The return is free of charge for you; however, you will not receive any money for your old cell phone.
If you do not only want to dispose of your cell phone, but also support a charitable action, you can turn to appropriate organizations. In cooperation with collection points, there are always drop-off campaigns, the proceeds of which are donated. Such campaigns are offered by Caritas, the NABU, the German Environmental Aid or Pro Wildlife. Functioning cell phones can usually be donated as well.