14 ways to recycle your old phone

Give your old device a new purpose…
14 ways to recycle your old phone

With World Environment Day coming up on 5thJune, we’re reminded that we can all do our bit to take better care of the planet. And if you’re looking to get a new phone, it’s always worth figuring out what to do with your old device.

Not properly disposing of your old phone could mean that it ends up in a landfill site, where it’ll slowly corrode and leak out dangerous substances such as lead, nickel and mercury. Want to stop this from happening?

Well, have you thought about recycling your phone? We’ve got a few ideas that can not only help the environment but give your old phone a new lease of life…

1. Digital photo frame

Turning your old phone into a digital photo frame couldn’t be easier. All it takes is a stylish stand and a free slideshow app that automatically scrolls through your pictures. Dayframe is a good one for Android handsets, while Picmatic does the same sort of thing for iPhones.

Here’s a tip – don’t forget to disable the screen dimming and lock features on your phone before it becomes your digital photo frame.

2. Home security camera

Security is everything. That’s why using your old phone to keep on eye on your house while you’re at work or on holiday is a fantastic idea.

Simply download a good webcam app (like IP Webcam on Android or Presence on iPhone), and see what your new security device sees, right from your browser. Just pop your old phone somewhere that gives you a good angle, while being discreet and out of sight.

phone playing music into some headphones

3. Music player

Remember when we had mp3/mp4 players that were solely dedicated to our music? Why not bring back a forgotten trend and download your music onto your old phone, and then use Bluetooth to play it back through smart speakers at home or when you’re out on the go?

You can even pop it in the car and use it as your go-to car stereo. You’ll never have to worry about an incoming call disturbing your fave tune ever again.

4. Give it to the kids

If you’ve got kids, an old phone could be a great tool to keep them entertained. Before you hand it over, you’ll need to make sure it’s child-friendly first.

The Kid Mode app for Android is loaded with free games and videos that are both fun and educational. Win, win.

5. Alarm clock

There are so many apps that let you use an old phone as an always-on alarm clock. And, if you’ve got a charging dock you don’t use anymore, just sit it in it and keep it powered up all day round. No more freak outs because you’re running late for work!

phone barometer app

6. Barometer

Who likes being caught out in the rain without an umbrella? The answer: no one. Luckily for you, most phones have an inbuilt barometer (phone makers use them to improve their GPS).

Just search for a barometer app, stick it up on the wall by the front door, and use it to find out what the weather’s like before you head on out.

7. E-reader

You can download all of your latest reads onto your old unused device from Apple Books or Google Play Books, or use the official Kindle app and sync your reading across multiple devices. If you’re a book worm, it’ll save you money and space when you’re reading out and about.

8. Radio

Loads of radio stations broadcast online now – plus there are lots of online radio apps that you can make use of. Check them out, choose your favourites and kick back with the ones you like the most.

9. Baby monitor on call

Baby monitors can be pricy. Why not use your old phone? An app like Dormi (Android) or Cloud Baby Monitor (iPhone) lets you know if your little one starts making noise. You can then soothe them remotely by talking to them or singing them a little ditty.

girl using phone to find her car

10. Use it to find your car

Whether you want to track your car if it has been stolen or if you’re forever trying to find it in car parks – it’s super easy to use your phone as a tracker to find it.

Firstly, you need to keep your old phone running on a low cost SIM only plan, and register it on ‘Find my Device’ (Android) or ‘Find my iPhone’. Then hide it away in your car with a full battery – and that’s all there is to it.

11. Use it as a camera

Old phones still have pretty great cameras. Put it to use by letting the kids practice on it and advance their photography skills.

Plus, if you’ve got the Google Photos app (Android or iOS) on the phone, the photos will be saved up in the cloud and you can even view them on your current device.

12. VR headset

We all love a bit of VR gaming. But if you’re using your current phone to get immersed in the world of VR, constantly moving in and out of the headset can get a bit tiresome.

And VR can eat up most of your battery. That’s why it could be handy to use your old phone as a full time VR gadget. You’ll only ever need to take it out when it’s time to charge it up.

phone charity

13. Donate it

No matter how old it is, any old phone will be worth some money. Plus, most charities will be happy to take them as donations. Interested in doing a good deed? Drop into your local charity shop or check out the Oxfam recycling webpage.

14. Use it for emergencies

And finally, you can keep your phone for emergencies. Remember - you don’t need a SIM card to call 999. Therefore, you can keep it charged in a safe place and bring it out whenever you need it. Job done.

Have we persuaded you to recycle your old phone? Which one of these are you most likely to do? We can’t wait to hear more in the comments below.


What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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