Sell ​​or donate ?: Where should the old smartphone go

Sell ​​or Donate?
Where should the old smartphone go

Discarded cell phones and smartphones contain expensive raw materials.

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Millions of discarded cell phones and smartphones are lying around in Germany. How to get rid of old devices sensibly.

The estimates diverge widely, but they agree that there are more than 100 million cell phones in drawers, basements and moving boxes in Germany. If you add up the raw materials contained in it, a large amount of tin, copper, nickel and Co. quickly comes together. Anyone who returns their old equipment to the circular economy is doing something good for the environment. It is important to note that.

Not in the household rubbish!

Recycling old cell phones makes sense mainly because of the raw materials they contain: Many heavy metals can be found in cell phones, including tin, lead, copper, nickel, silver, platinum, arsenic, selenium, bismuth and cobalt. Under no circumstances should these end up in the household waste. It is a few milligrams per device, but with up to 250 million “sleeping” devices in Germany, this adds up to a lot.

Prepare the device

Regardless of whether you sell your old cell phone, donate it or give it up for recycling: First of all, you should make sure that there is no more important data on the device. If this is the case, we strongly recommend creating a backup. Once that’s done, it’s best to reset your mobile phone to its factory settings. Also don’t forget to take the SIM card out of the device. If the cell phone data is sensitive information, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) recommends encrypting the device before resetting it to the factory settings.

That’s still good!

The consumer advice center advises due to the “lack of transparency of purchase portals” to sell old cell phones through a classified ad yourself. The bottom line is that there is usually more money for the seller than when selling on a buying portal. Especially with devices that are still reasonably up-to-date, it pays to make the effort and place an ad.

Dispose of your cell phone – but where?

Both the consumer advice center and the federal government recommend donating defective and functioning old devices. And either to the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), the Nature Conservation Union Germany (NABU) or the German Environmental Aid (DUH). They all organize nationwide collection campaigns, often in cooperation with large mobile phone providers. The cooperating recycling companies clean and then sell still functional devices and individual parts. Buyers can find the refurbished devices on portals such as Backmarket, Swappie or Refurbed.

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There is also the option of returning old devices to large dealers. Since 2016, online retailers have also been legally obliged to accept electrical appliances – regardless of where they were bought. There are also often collection boxes for old devices in supermarkets or drugstores. If the device was still functional, the charger should not be forgotten when making the donation. Recycling centers throughout Germany also accept old cell phones and tablets free of charge.


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