According to a report from NPD Connected Intelligence, US consumers upgrade their mobile phone every 32 months. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the same is true in Europe, with smartphones being replaced every two to three years.

Your shiny new phone is great – but how can you dispose of the old one responsibly?

Trade it in

Some phone vendors offer trade-in deals as a way to keep customers coming back for more. In return for your old smartphone, the network will offer a discount when you buy a new one.

The discount will depend on the condition of your phone as this affects what the vendor can do with it. If your phone has been well looked after, it can probably be resold, allowing the vendor to recoup some of their costs. If the phone is damaged or faulty, you will receive a much smaller discount because it is probably only fit for recycling and disposal.

Sell it

Another option is to sell the phone yourself. Ebay and Facebook make it very easy to sell unwanted handsets quickly.

Selling a phone yourself isn’t quite as easy as a trade-in, but you will normally get more money for it. And more money for your old phone means more to put towards to a new one.

And even if your phone is broken, it’s worth checking online – some are still worth a small amount of money. Repair shops will sometimes buy broken phones to use for spare parts.

Pass it on

If your old phone still works, it will still be useful to someone. Do you have a friend or family member who would benefit from an upgrade of their own?

It is not unusual for parents to pass old smartphones on to their kids – sometimes multiple times. Everyone gets a boost, and nothing goes to waste.

Recycle it

If the phone is broken or faulty and you can’t find anyone willing to take it as trade-in, your final option is to recycle the phone. Rather than simply putting your unwanted trash, you should always choose to recycle it responsibly.

Why? Some of the components in your phone are highly toxic when burned or buried, causing significant damage to the environment. A recycling service can make sure that these chemicals are disposed of safely. The good news is that these services are free – so there’s no excuse not to.

One last thing

Whatever you do with your old phone, there is one golden rule that applies to all of the above options; you must ensure that your personal data has been wiped from the device. Leaving personal data on the Android device (like your Google account) could be used by hackers to steal other personal information – or your money.

Check the manual for your smartphone (or the manufacturer’s website) for instructions on how to perform a full device reset. You should perform a reset even if you are passing the device on to one of your kids – you never know what they may do with your stored credit card details and passwords!

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